Cathy Byrd calls in from Berlin to Jolt Radio to talk about her time in Oslo and Tromsø, Norway. Her field recordings feature the voices of artists including Tori Wrånes, Jana Winderen, Ánde Somby, Marita Isobel Solberg, Charlotte Nilsen, Amund S. Sveen.

Fresh Art International

From Cathy’s notes

I find myself in this part of the world because I’m a member of the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art (IKT), an organization designed to support and connect curators in our global community. This year, more than 100 curators meet in the capital city of Oslo and in Tromsø, a town that lies north of the Arctic Circle.

Everywhere we go, I discover that listening is vitally important to a meaningful experience of contemporary culture in the region.

One of my strongest first impressions is a video representing the work of musician and performance artist Tori Wrånes. In her solo exhibition titled Hot Pockets at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo, she uses costumes, props, voice and movement to create suggestive and hypnotic pockets of time – secret spaces in her realm of magical thinking. Let’s listen to a few minutes of the audio track from a three-hour live performance that Wrånes staged in 2014 with a cast of amazing characters.

On our last evening in Oslo, after two intense days of presentations and museum and gallery visits, we gather at SALT, a nomadic art project currently situated on the city’s shoreline, overlooking the famous Opera House. One of SALT’s pyramid structures is an amazing sauna. While we’re inside absorbing the intense heat, we listen to a set of Polar Sound Tracks. The one by Norwegian artist Jana Winderen transports us beneath the surface of the frigid fjord outside the window.

In Tromsø, we encounter contemporary interpretations of Norway’s indigenous Sami culture. The Sami are people are perhaps best known as nomadic reindeer herders. Historically, their community has flowed across national borders in the far north. The next sound experiences represent different readings of the Sami song form known as yoiking. Our first day above the arctic circle begins with Sami artist Marita Isobel Solberg’s performance inside the Tromsuh Academy of Contemporary Art and Creative Writing. We also get to hear Sami historian Ánde Somby‘s traditional and contemporary yoiking.

While in the Far North, we visit artists studios in Kysten, the name given a building that used to be a hospital, now part of the Troms County Culture Center. In the atelier of Charlotte Nilsen, advocate of Slow Fashion, I learn how she merges traditional Sami style clothes with contemporary dresses, shirts and coats, and she teaches others how to make their own hybrid clothes. I capture one more sonic experience during the Transborder Café at a local theater where artist Amund S. Sveen presents a performance lecture that imagines the possibility of forging a United States of Barents from the territories at the edge of the Barents Sea.

Main image provided by Tori Wrånes.

Fresh Art International
Beginning with research, networking, and field recordings, independent curator Cathy Byrd works with a team of creatives to script, direct, produce, publish, and promote a range of perspectives on contemporary art. Fresh Art International models the fresh thinking and positivity essential to building a sustainable professional practice in the field. With her supporters, Byrd has effectively invented a vital new art media platform that offers a globally-informed assessment and a virtual archive of contemporary art and culture.

For more than 20 years, Byrd has engaged in extensive field work, traveling across the U.S., and to Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal and Turkey. To capture the voices you hear in our Fresh Art International podcast series, she records in-person, via Skype and by mobile phone. Fresh Art International features the voices of Claire Tancons, Tania Bruguera, Theaster Gates, Joan Jonas, Jason Moran, Franklin Sirmans, Marinella Senatore, Cesar Cornejo, Antoni Muntadas, Janet Biggs, Valerie Cassel Oliver, Trenton Doyle Hancock, William Pope.L, and many more. Select sounds and photographs illustrate Fresh News and Fresh VUE features on Miami Art Week, São Paulo Biennial, dOCUMENTA, Venice Art Biennial, Istanbul Biennial, Lyon Biennial, SXSW, ARCO Madrid, Armory Arts Week, Frieze New York, Cartagena Biennial, Havana Biennial, and Prospect New Orleans, among other international exhibitions and events.

Notably, each Fresh Art International podcast episode features an introductory text, photo feature and signature sound. All are archived on multiple platforms, and the full series is downloadable for free on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Android, Google Music Play, and Public Radio Exchange, where we make our podcast available for public radio broadcast.

Our Global Initiative
Since the launch of this platform, our reach has spanned the U.S., including residencies on Miami Beach, in Baltimore, Newcastle, Austin, Brooklyn, Chicago, and New Orleans. In Europe, we’ve set up shop in Barcelona, Amsterdam, and Berlin. Engaged with the diverse character of creative practitioners globally, we’ve recorded conversations with visual, performance and sound artists, curators, architects, and filmmakers, among other culture makers. We’ve toured exhibitions and art fairs, attended performances, experienced public art and explored architecture. We’ve captured field recordings worldwide in cities and remote sites including São Paulo, Brazil; New York City; Lubbock; Roswell, NM; Marfa; Baltimore; Washington, DC; Madrid; Lisbon; Istanbul; Bergen (Norway); The Hague; Frankfurt, Brooklyn; Providence, Rhode Island; New Orleans; Chicago; Atlanta; Austin, Texas; and Key West, Florida.