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Lars Brekke, Peephole into the Hollow, 2018. Photo: Destiny's atelier.
Lars Brekke, Peephole into the Hollow, 2018. Photo: Destiny's atelier.

The Voice and the Institution

The Voice and the Institution seeks to address how to find a voice to speak to, about, within and beyond institutional structures. The symposium invites artists who through their practices have developed ways to make visible, challenge or re-shape institutional relationships and modes of conduct.

Invited artists:

Maria Navarro Skaranger, Ahmed Umar, Lisa Vipola, Malin Arnell & Åsa Elzén, Lars Brekke, Goro Tronsmo.

Organizers and moderators:

Lisa Rosendahl, Marthe Ramm Fortun.

The symposium on 29th of November is an invitation to come together and claim a space for polyphony. The invited speakers will discuss art’s potential to shift power positions, as well as draw attention to and socialize experiences of misconduct and discrimination.

Society at large has recognized the voices that emerge in times of crisis through the tidal wave that is #metoo. A hashtag has brought into the mainstream activist strategies from recent past, such as coalitions between civil rights, queer and feminist movements. Historically, these coalitions came into being in the midst of discrepant opinions and across professions and ideologies. Today, the rhetorics of media and neoliberalism push public speakers out in the margins and towards irreconcilable differences. Is it possible, through poetic, activist and artistic strategies, to forge empathy and recognition of differences so that we do not lose sight of each other as human beings?

The symposium forms a temporary platform where we – doers, thinkers and speakers, students, educators and artists – will share ways in which we have answered to or leaned softly against dominant discourses and structural abuse. There will be speech and quiet, each attentive presence of equal importance. The situations and methods shared wear many guises, from institutional intervention to poetic re-invention.

Refreshments will be served.

Image: Lars Brekke, Peephole into the Hollow, 2018. Photo: Destiny's atelier.


Maria Navarro Skaranger made her literary debut with the novel «All Foreigners Have Their Curtains Closed» (2015) for which she won the debutant prize. The book is written in the sociolect of the Oslo suburb of Romsås, with its own syntax and a vocabulary hauling from many different languages. Her latest novel, «Lars in the Woods (or Tales of Sorrow), (2018) deals with mental illness, loss and mourning not as victimhood or disease, but as counter languages to normativity.

Ahmed Umar graduated with a MFA in Medium- and Material Based Art from KHiO. He explores questions related to rituals, authority, cultural values, religion and personal history through a cross-media practice. His recent solo show "Carrying the Ugly Face" at Kunstplass 10 (Oslo) featured portraits of eight LHBT + activists taken in Sudan during a trip in connection with the production of an autobiographical documentary. Ahmed came to Norway as a political refugee in 2008 and is the first openly gay Sudanese artist.

Malin Arnell and Åsa Elzén collaborated for ten years within YES! Association / Föreningen JA! (2005-2018), an art collective, an artwork, an association, an art worker, an institution, a group of people that worked to overthrow the ruling system of heteronormative, patriarchal, racist, and capitalist power structures by putting into practice a structural redistribution of access to financial resources, space and time within the (art) field.

Lisa Vipola graduated from the Royal Institute of Art in Sweden in 2018 with the publication ACCESSEN(THE ACCESS), an autofictional novel about silence, discrimination and misuse within contemporary institutions. ACCESSEN(THE ACCESS) is a book about value, equal rights, disabilities and society's scorn for weakness.

Lars Brekke studied at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts and at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam. His practice is concerned with the human gaze and perspective, and with the problems associated with employing this perspective as a starting point for practical and moral thinking. While sometimes specifically focusing on anthropocentricity, his works are also approaching the notion of centricity in general, and the interrelationship between centricity, observation, consciousness, feeling, suffering, morality and moral emotion.

Goro Tronsmo is currently enrolled in the MA in Theater Studies at KHiO. Her work is concerned with extracting and staging institutional structures through large scale context specific living installations. Her architectural work changes and highlights contextual identities through light, manipulated entrance points, and levels buildt in correnspondanse with the architecture of the building.

Marthe Ramm Fortun is an artist and adjunct lecturer at KHiO. Her performances employ writing, voice and elusive sculptural boundaries to
inscribe closed off institutional spaces with persistent and poetic feminisms. Upcoming work includes a ten year performance cycle at the
Bergen Museum of Natural History, and a solo exhibition at Kunstnerforbundet in Oslo.

Lisa Rosendahl is a curator and writer. Recent projects include Rivers of Emotion, Bodies of Ore (Kunsthall Trondheim, 2018) Extracts
From a Future History (Public Art Agency Sweden, 2017) and The Society Machine – The Industrial Era From the Perspective of Art (Malmö
Konstmuseum, 2016) She is the Curator of the two forthcoming editions of GIBCA in 2019 and 2021. Since August 2018 she is working as
Associate Professor of Exhibition Studies at KHIO. Together with Marthe Ramm Fortun, she is co-organizing and moderating the symposium
The Voice and the Institution.