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Under the Park

Under the Park

A project by Sara Eliassen, with guest contributors, at Valkyrie plass metro station, Oslo.

Under the Park, with contributions by: Kesia Eidesen Halvorsrud / Valborg Frøysnes, Irmgard Emmelhainz, Global Drama / Dahir, Colectivo Los Ingrávidos, New Red Order / Adam Khalil, Lesia Vasylchenko & Nikhil Vettukattil, Jan Verwoert, Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa

Under the Park is a site-specific project scheduled for the night of Saturday, 16 October 2021, inviting artists, thinkers, performers, and audiences into a nightly séance of invocations. Its epicentre is the site-specific video installation Do I Accept that the Future is Looped? (2018/2021) by artist Sara Eliassen in the Valkyrie plass, a metro station active from 1928 to 1985. The installation will be visible by attentive underground commuters passing the abandoned station in the centre of Oslo, for a week preceding and succeeding the event.

Eliassen realized a video-triptych breaking free sculptures by the celebrated Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland (1869–1943) by appropriating and questioning a technique from Leni Riefenstahl’s film Olympia (1938), where classical sculptures transition into idealized athletic bodies. Do I Accept that the Future is Looped? speculates a similarity of problematic ideals between the two artists on progress and the desire for the archetypical human, returning in a loop in screen culture.

For one night, from the passing of the last night carriage and until the first train passes the following day, Valkyrie plass metro station will transform into a temporary autonomous zone through a collective, orchestrated event. The night awakens the transient, and the underground site explores how ideology normalizes through images and screen technologies. The night calls for screen material that questions and counters dominant histories in order to build futures that are not built upon dysfunctional pasts.

Valkyrie plass sits in the proximity to the Vigeland Sculpture Park, initiated by Gustav Vigeland in the 1920s and completed in 1943 with the support of the City of Oslo. The park, consisting of 214 Vigeland sculptures, is one of Oslo's main tourist attractions.

Under the Park is a project by Sara Eliassen, part of her ongoing Ph.D. research project Mediating Uncertainties at the Academy of Fine Art, Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO). The project has been developed in collaboration with Fotogalleriet and its artistic director Antonio Cataldo; Jan Verwoert, writer; Bo Krister Wallström, Public Art Norway; Kristine Jærn Pilgaard, independent curator; Magnus Holmen, artist and project coordinator. Production team: Phillip Isaksen, lights; Jon Løvøen, set-design; Ulf Carlsson, design; Cirenia Escobedo Esquivel, film documentation. Catering by Njokobok.

Sara Eliassen is an artist and filmmaker and currently a PhD candidate in artistic research at the Academy of Fine Art in Oslo. Eliassen has a conceptual cinema practice also involving projects in public space: The Feedback Loop, commissioned by The Munch Museum (2018) and presented in collaboration with Kunsthall Oslo, is her last site-specific project. Eliassen’s films Still Birds (2009) and A Blank Slate (2014) have played extensively at international film festivals, including the Venice Film Festival, The International Film Festival Rotterdam, and The Sundance Film Festival.

The project is funded by KORO – Public Art Norway, with additional support from Munch- og Vigelandsstipendet, Oslo kommunes kunst og kulturstipend; Fotogalleriet; and kunstnerassistentordningen, Arts Council Norway. A special thanks goes to Oslo Sporveier and Geir Wilhelm Røer.

Mediating Uncertainties

Valkyrie metro station