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Situations presents Slow Space

Situations presents Slow Space An unfolding programme of public art projects in the city of Oslo.

Futurefarmers embark their mobile oven on Oslo Opera House, June 2013. Photo: Max McClure.
Futurefarmers embark their mobile oven on Oslo Opera House, June 2013. Photo: Max McClure.

Slow Space, a new programme of public art projects, events and publications, is set to unfold in Bjørvika, Oslo’s former container port, over the next four years. Challenging preconceptions about the forms and timespan of conventional public artworks, the programme promises a new approach to working with artists in sites of regeneration.

In 2010, UK-based producers Situations were asked to devise a new curatorial vision for this major site of regeneration on Oslo’s waterfront. Claire Doherty, Situations Director recalls, “We were struck by how Snøhetta’s white marble roof at the Opera House had quickly become a new gathering place in the city—a space free from commercial activity in which to think, to slow down, to congregate, to self-organise. We gathered together artists, architects, planners and curators from all over the world in Oslo to help us think about alternative approaches to public time as well as public space.”

Slow Space is conceived as a programme that will unfold over time, through collective activity, annual events and interventions, often in close collaboration with existing organisations and artist-run and activist initiatives across the city.

The first of four projects launched this month with the San Francisco-based artist Amy Franceschini and Futurefarmers establishing Flatbread Society. Using the compelling proposition of a permanent Bakehouse for Bjørvika, Futurefarmers sought out the hidden networks of bakeries and urban food production, environmental activists and farmers across Oslo, listening and researching, delighting in the divergent forms of and facilities for making flatbread.

From May to June 2013, Flatbread Society established a temporary presence to test out the function, form and community of the Bakehouse. Its provisional aesthetic contrasted starkly with the surrounding construction site: the hand-made meeting tables and tools, its radio station Ramona, the tandoor and flatbread ovens, a canoe oven (above), a telescope rolling pin and shelter structure—served to insert make-shift production into the highly planned and controlled public space of the new Bjørvika. This is a field station operating through a spirit of readiness. Through Flatbread Society, Futurefarmers offer an alternative approach to the design and builds methodology of urban design, creating a space in which we might actively contribute to the life of our public spaces through a captivating idea.

Read & download Tara McDowell’s new essay on Flatbread Society at

New projects by artists Katie Paterson, Toril Johannessen and Marjolijn Dijkman, Heather and Ivan Morison will be announced in due course. Follow @situationsuk.

Slow Space is the public art programme for Bjørvika, the former container port area of the city of Oslo and is supported by Bjørvika Utvikling.

About Situations
Situations is an award-winning visual arts organisation which commissions and produces projects by contemporary artists for public sites and situations. Established in 2002 and based in Bristol, UK, Situations has achieved international recognition for its programme of projects, publications and events which challenge preconceptions about where, how and when public art takes place. Situations is supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Challenging Public Art Now
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