18 December 2019

Artist and farmer Geir Tore Holm shares his three most memorable art experiences of 2019.

Máre Ánne Sara and Matt Lambert’s Loaded – Keep hitting our Jaws, 2018, exhibited at Alta kunstforening during Sami Art Festival, 2019. Photo: Hanna Horsberg Hansen.

Dåajmijes vuekie, Sámi Dáiddafestivála/Sami Art Festival, Alta, Norway

Sitting in this circle during the Sámi Dáiddafestivála / Sami Art Festival in Alta was a truly great experience. The theme of the seminar was dåajmijes vuekie, a Southern Sami concept of how one traditionally evaluates aesthetics with due respect for and awareness of one’s context. OCA (Office for Contemporary Art Norway), which sponsored the seminar alongside KORO (Public Art Norway), and Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum, have done crucial work with Sami art, demonstrating its importance and placing it within an international context. Still, decolonisation comes from within, and at the dåajmijes vuekie event Sami [Indigenous peoples of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia] artists defined their own practices without considering external boundaries. We must move away from a discussion of categories, working instead with time and spirituality, and relating to the ecology of materials.

From Arne Johan Vetlesen’s lecture at Kunstnernes Hus. Photo: Geir Tore Holm.

Arne Johan Vetlesen, ‘The Wild Living Marine Resources Belong to Society as a Whole’, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo

Arne Johan Vetlesen is a professor of philosophy specialising in ethics, interpersonal relationships, and evil. In his lecture on 3 September – part of a series of events I co-organised, which was based on the text of the Norwegian Marine Resources Act – Vetlesen talked about the relationship between material and mind. How is it that we humans are so distanced from our surroundings, from other living beings and plants, that we allow ourselves to have such a destructive culture? What does the bird of prey in that tree think when it looks upon you? Why don’t we greet the trees when we meet them in the woods? Arne Johan Vetlesen asks radical questions which push back at the rationalities firmly embedded in the foundations of academia.

Signe Lidén, The Tidal Sense, 2019. Photo: Kjell Ove Storvik.

Lofoten International Art Festival (LIAF) 2019, Lofoten, Norway

I was lucky enough to be present at the Kelp Congress in Svolvær during the festival. The intertidal zone provided the geographical setting of a prolonged, exploratory, and intensive programme. LIAF really got to grips with things. From Ramberg to Valberg, and Skrova to Digermulen, I was swept along from village to village by a stream of excellent art and events. The former headquarters of the newspaper Lofotposten were heaving, not just in the seaweed spa by artist-duo Devil’s Apron, or João Pedro Vale and Nuno Alexandre Ferreira’s Semiótica do Bacalhau (Semiotics of the Cod), but throughout the building. One particular highlight was found on the top floor, with my ear against Signe Lidén’s installation and sound work The Tidal Sense.

Geir Tore Holm is an artist and farmer at Øvre Ringstad in Skiptvet, Østfold. Since 2003, he has run the project Sørfinnset skole/ the nord land in Gildeskål together with Søssa Jørgensen. In 2017, he defended his thesis Poetics for Changing Aesthetics at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts. Holm recently participated in the exhibition Hábmet Hámi / Making Form at Tromsø kunstforening, and is co-curator of an exhibition featuring Nils-Aslak Valkeapää at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in autumn 2020.