The Sweetness of Living Art Symposium pt.1

Friday (25.02)
15:00 - 17:00
Free (with pre-registration)
Hybrid (Local and Digital)

Det gode liv // The Sweetness of Living  is an ongoing networking, knowledge exchange, and experience-sharing artistic research and contemporary art process. Beginning in 2021 through a series of artworks, a ‘test-lab’ event in Kirkenes and Murmansk, and a symposium which took inspiration from Matt Hern and Am Johal’s 2018 publication Global Warming and the Sweetness of Life: A Tar Sands Tale, the process will now continue in 2022 with a new symposium on Friday 25. and Saturday 26. February. This time the focus is on communities, and the knowledges, structures, and relations that form and emerge through their continual processes of re-configuration.

How and why are communities formed? What are the rules for their structures, power dynamics, and the knowledges and meanings that are shared? What are the conditions needed to begin, or become part of a community, and how are these conditions maintained or challenged? What is the specific role of communities in places outside of larger cities, or through things like language, dialect, or through certain sub-cultures? And how do we take some of these questions further, and think about community as something that includes the other-than-human world? What does it mean to be in community with the land, with the weather? 

Pikene på Broen is proud to present a series of lectures, audio-visual contributions, discussions and performances, all of which introduce different ways of thinking through community in relation to the topic of the sweetness of living.

Tickets for the event in Kirkenes are available via ticketco and are limited to 30 places each day. The working language will be English. The event is available to join digitally via the registration links. There will also be the option of Russian language interpretation for those joining via zoom.

The programme continues on Saturday with contributions from Tea Andreoletti, Prof Tim Ingold and Matti Aikio, John Andrew Wilhite-Hannisdale, Rebekah Oomen, Anastasia Savinova, Svein Harald Holmen and Alexander Kozin.


Image courtesy of Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, The Fine Art Collections Gutter med lasso / Gánddat suohpaniin / Boys with Lasso

Friday Programme

Irina Shirobokova: Exploring Queer Potentialities of Darkness – a multivocal lecture on modern marginality in the North. Stemming from an involved research process using collective writing as a community engagement method, the lecture shares some of the research insights found throughout the process + Q&A

The dualism of light/darkness arose as a symbolic formula for morality once primordial darkness had been split into light and dark (Anzaldua, 1987). Now Darkness, my night, is identified with negative and evil forces. Darkness is a particular material condition of the nocturnal space in the Arctic; material and metaphorical space of women’s invisibility, and simultaneously, a source of emancipation and alternative knowledge production.

This lecture is an effort to debunk the Enlightenment myth associated with darkness as the “other” of light, as an absence, a lack, or inverse. Through the concept of darkness I suggest respatializing traditional geographical hierarchies where dispossessed female/subaltern bodies, sexualities, stories, and lands were considered as “dark”/ “ungeographical other”.

An artist talk with Barents Spektakel exhibition artists Espen Sommer Eide and Riikka Keränen as they discuss their working processes, engagement with materials, and the social and community aspects related to their current artistic practice.

Chill Survive (Tinna Grétarsdóttir and Pia Lindman): Song of Cow Dung – a performative presentation that chews up the good life, bit by bit – like cows. The research ruminates in Nordic vernacular architecture. There, cows and humans lived together under the same turf. These lived companionships have almost come to their ends and are swallowed, digested and absorbed. Later, to be re-membered as undivided parts of the good life. Fermentation transforms sources of continuity – of those who have become and those yet to become world makers and nourishers. 

Planetary transformations dissolve human identities to weave new dependencies and collaborations between a multitude of existence. Myths and history intermingle. Kuusamo historian Ervasti tells us that “lantalaiset” is a name the now almost forgotten forest Sami gave the Finnish colonisers, who brought cows. Cows provided dung for agriculture. “Lantalaiset” means “the people of the cow dung”. Cow dung nurtures the microbe Myxcoccus vacchae (Cow’s bacteria) and that is connected to human happiness. Naming is defining: this bacteria lives in any kind of rotting soil independent of cows. Happiness de-colonised.

Their presentation is an exercise in collective re-membering with cow dung, amniotic sacks, songs, listening, and hearing.


Irina Shirobokova is a research fellow at the Centre for Independent Social Research and doctoral student at The City University of New York. She specializes in political anthropology, urban geography and transdisciplinary research with the focus on feminist, experimental and collaborative methods, and embodied knowledge production. She has been working in the Murmansk region in various research, urban-planning, art-science projects within the last 6 years.

Espen Sommer Eide is a composer and artist based in Bergen, Norway. His artistic practice involves time-based media with a special focus on music and sound. This is further characterized by an experimental approach to instruments, archives, places and languages. In addition to installation and performances, he is a representative of experimental electronic music from Norway, growing out of the techno scene of Tromsø in the 90s, with main projects Alog and Phonophani, and a string of releases on the labels Rune Grammofon, Hubro, Sofa and others. His works have been exhibited and performed at Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen Assembly, Manifesta, Marres, Henie Onstad kunstsenter, Stedelijk Museum, De Halle Haarlem, Dark Ecology, Sonic Acts, Mutek festival, GRM/Presences Électronique, Performa Festival, Museo Reina Sofia and more. Sommer Eide is also a member of the theatre/art collective Verdensteatret, with extensive international touring and exhibi­tions

Riikka Keränen is a visual artist and farmer from Ristijärvi in the Kainuu region of Finland. She graduated with a degree in sculpture from the Kankaanpää School of Fine Art in 2010. Keränen’s work involves playing and thinking in dialogue with the entire spectrum of the world’s materials. Through her work, the artist reflects upon the entangled nature between human and other-than-human worlds.

Chill Survive Network, founded by Tinna Grétarsdóttir and Pia Lindman, is a platform for mutual exchange and collaboration between researchers, curators, artists and institutions in the North-beyond-the-global-North. They engage in human and nonhuman entanglements and the development of new strategies, tactics, methodology and language that speak to our present ecological crisis. The objective is to explore, learn, mediate, and cope with the future transformations in the Arctic.

Tinna Grétarsdóttir is trained as a visual anthropologist (PhD) and seeks new ways to combine research and art. She has curated exhibitions on art and neoliberal cultural politics, competing discourses of creativity, and human and nonhuman ecologies. Grétarsdóttir is currently co-writing a book on architecture as multispecies organism.

Pia Lindman is an artist and researcher who works with performance art, healing-as-art, installation, microbes, architecture, painting, and sculpture. A result of many years of investigation into the body and its place within the cultural space, Lindman’s work now moves beyond the human body proper to multiple realms of organic and inorganic life.