Publisert 23.11.2022

Future scenarios at the 2023 Varanger festival

Image: Collage by Miina Alajärvi (CC2.0). Original images by Pete Linforth and Werner Vesterås..

Out of 30 applications, the art project for the Varanger festival has now been selected.

Each year, Vadsø Art Association and the Varanger festival work together to select an art project for the festival. This year, the focus is on Finnish-Norwegian collaboration thanks to the first-time partnership with the Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Institute (FINNO). The selected project is Vadsø Megacity by Finnish filmmaker and community artist Miina Alajärvi, and filmmaker and visual artist Kirsikka Paakkinen. The project imagines a future scenario where the Vadsø area becomes a city with hundreds of thousands of people because of climate crisis. Through this, the project aims to find new perspectives on the local home environment.

The project was selected by way of an open call in September 2022, launched in collaboration between Vadsø Art Association, FINNO, the Varanger festival, Vadsø guest studio, and the Artists’ Association of Lapland. Titled DEEP WATER/ČIEKŊALIS ČÁHCI/SYVÄ VESI/DYPT VANN, the call sought project proposals that address the relationship between art and culture, and a sustainable and viable regional society. The emphasis was on community-engaged art and cross-border collaboration in the northern regions of Norway and Finland.

“We received 30 high-quality proposals from many different fields of art. The selected project fulfils the aim of the open call in a way that’s playful by creating a future scenario for the town of Vadsø. We believe that the project will make an impact locally and encourage people to look at their hometown with a fresh mindset,” says Monica Milch Gebhardt, chair of the board at Vadsø Art Association.

Vadsø Megacity will take place during the Varanger festival in August 2023. Through an open workshop, the project invites local participants to think how they would like to build the city in such a scenario. The artists will also be invited to a two-week residency atVadsø guest studio in January 2023.

“Vadsø Megacity explores an exciting and slightly scary future scenario for our beloved little hometown. The magic of the Varanger festival happens when people come together, and workshops with local residents offer a great opportunity for this. This will be art with social impact, just the way we like it,” says Ándre Kvernhaug, Festival Director for the Varanger festival.

“We’re glad that the call attracted such widespread interest and we’re grateful for all the proposals that we received. It’s great to see the interest in co-operation across borders,” says Pauliina Gauffin, Director at the Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Institute.

Read more about the open call and the collaborating partners here.