I recently finished a project in Vardø, a small community basically as far north and east you can get in Norway (it is for instance further east than Kyiv and St. Petersburg). It´s one of the oldest cities in Northern Norway due to trade and fishing, and fishing is still the main livelihood there.

In mid February I made a sort of mini art festival there in collaboration with Nordnorsk Kunstnersenter and a lot of great local venues and people. All the works I made grew out of field work done in Vardø, with focus on the coastal fishing community and a community green house project.

Here is a video from a research trip last September:

A bit of context

My first encounter with Vardø was when I was making the video Barents (mare incognitum) for the Dark Ecology project in 2015, when I really got a sense of the vast ocean, and a feeling of being at the intersection of different worlds somehow.

stills from Barents (mare incognitum)

Dark Ecology, initiated by Sonic Acts and Hilde Mehti, took place in the border area between Norway and Russia. Vardø and the whole north-eastern region of Norway have strong ties to Russia, being close neighbours. There has been trade relations for many hundred years, and it was the Soviets that liberated this part of Norway at the end of the second World War.
At the same time the biggest radar system in western Europe is placed in Vardø, being NATO´s eye into Russia, making it a primary bomb target in case of conflict.
My project finished just before the aggressive, meaningless invasion of Ukraine.

There are big fishing resources just outside Vardø which has been harvested for centuries. These resources are also a source of conflicts between local interests and big capital:
The privatisation of the national fishing resources through the fishing quota system introduced in the 1990s (where quotas now are sold for big money), which apart from putting in the hands of the few something that belongs to everyone, also makes it a huge investment to become a fisher.
Locally based coastal fishers also create jobs on land (processing and packaging of the fish, preparing the lines before fishing, repair and maintenance of boats and equipment etc), while big fishing trawlers and fishing factories deliver very little of the fish locally (which is actually against the law): 70-80% of the fish is sent directly to other countries for processing or is processed on board the huge factory ships. Even most of the fish that is sold in Norwegian grocery stores has been processed and packaged somewhere in Europe or Asia. This is an economic disaster for the fishing communities as well as very little environment-friendly (not to mention scraping the ocean floor with trawls vs fishing with lines).
These are some of the conflicts that is fronted by Kystopprøret (Coastal Rebellion), where some of the main protagonists are based in Vardø, and the iconic mural by street artist Pøbel has become the symbol of this rebellion.

Kystopprøret (coastal rebellion) logo on wall by Pøbel : The natural resources belong to everybody (scan by HC Gilje)

Vardø Kystopprøret

I made a series of works entitled Vardø Kystopprøret, based on 3D scans of some of the fishing equipment used by the coastal fishers. I was fascinated by the very intense colors of especially the fishing lines (which apparently have no practical value as they are used so deep in the ocean that there is no light), and how these very concrete objects turned into abstract point of colours.

I capture the objects and environments using a lidar scanner (which captures depth information) combined with a camera (which captures colour information). From this a point cloud 3d model is calculated, which is the departure point for the work I do in the 3D software: Work with lighting and the virtual camera and render the result as animations, holograms or still images.

One animation was presented on a big flat screen in the window of local radio station Radio Domen, visible for passersby.

the window of Radio Domen, right photo by Karolin Tampere

I also created 3D animations presented on small holographic screens placed at various locations in the city, trying to reach an audience that might not actively go to see an exhibition.

Nordpol kro (a pub established in 1864!
the café at Strandtorget
the local grocery store Knut Bye

Finally I made three light boxes with still images from the 3d-scans in the windows of Barentskrummelurene and Galleri Luna, also very visible for passersby.

The three images in the light boxes
Barentskrummelurene/ Galleri Luna (left photo by Karolin Tampere)

Vardø Felleskapsdrivhuset

A quite different type of work grew out of learning about the volunteer based construction of a community green house in the center of Vardø. Even though they have midnight sun from mid May to end of July, they also have polar nights (no sun at all) from end of November to about mid January.
I just thought it was very inspiring and a project full of hope, so I asked if it was possible to make a light installation there, even if it wasn´t finished yet.

My installation was in the smallest of the two spaces, and the plan for the green house is to combine all-year growing of herbs with small cultural events. The bigger space will be the main growing space.

The idea for the installation comes from light being the maker of life through photosynthesis. I created a sort of hanging garden where each unit consisted of a light source and a pile of phosphorescent pigment on a dish. The light charges the pigment, and the pigment gives off a green light.

A big thanks to all the generous and helpful people in Vardø, Karolin Tampere from Nordnorsk Kunstnersenter and BEK for letting me use DeepBEK for rendering.


Voice 2012

Seven years after our previous collaboration, Maja Ratkje and I got together for a performance in Johanneskirken in Bergen for Festspillene i Bergen this May. I created a setup using LED modules normally used in outdoor video walls which I placed in an arc behind Maja. The arc functioned both as a canvas for low resolution patterns but also a powerful light source affecting the whole church giving me an opportunity to modify the whole space by improvising with these screens.

We have been invited to perform at the Bozar Electronic Arts Festival on september 22nd  (Bozar, Brussels) and later at the Kontraste Festival in Krems in october.

Johanneskirken has probably never looked cooler from the outside:

a very short glimpse of what you might experience:

The full-length performance at the Kontraste Festival in October 2012:

7 cirkler

Last year I was asked by curator Morten Søndergaard if I wanted to contribute to  “Unheard Avangarde” which was to be a section in the big sound art exhibition at ZKM (which opened end of March 2012). The idea was to combine contemporary artists with works by pioneer composers of electronic music in Scandinavia. I was initially reluctant, but after hearing the music I was sold. I was asked to work with the composition 7 cirkler by the Danish composer Else Marie Pade, which she made in 1959. She was inspired from visiting the planetarium at the Brussels World Expo in 1958, and using tone generators and tape she created a system of building up layers (circles) of sound and then reversing the process and end up with just one circle again. Here is a diagram showing how she constructed the composition:

I was interested in making a similar structure with circles of light animations combining into more complex light-shadow patterns.

The installation is on display until January 2013 at ZKM

in transit

My new light installation created for the 3rd floor of Woodstreet Galleries. It´s a 15m (50 ft) animated light installation running through the whole space.

portrait by Joey Kennedy. Copyright All rights reserved by joeykennedyphotography

blink @ woodstreet (Projected Light Space)

Woodstreet Galleries solo exhibition

I am showing 4 works over two floors at my first US solo exhibition at Woodstreet Galleries, which runs until April 8th.

On one floor I am showing three projection works: frame #2, circle #4 and blink@woodstreet. On another floor I am showing a new light installation, in transit (top picture) which is a 15 m animated light installation. To see more documentation (photo+video) follow the link to the different works.

The exhibition was supported by Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Fond for lyd og bilde, Bergen Kommune and Kontainerkorporation.


Just in time for the end of the year: I made a pdf portfolio with examples of my work from 2000 until 2011.

It can be downloaded either as a screenversion (5.9 mb) or printversion (18.2mb).

Happy new year!

VPT 5.1 available

After nearly 2500 downloads of the first version of Video Proejction Tools VPT 5 released in december 2010, I am happy to announce the new version 5.1, partly based on feedback from workshops and the VPT forum.

The release focuses on all the possibilities to expand and customize VPT to be the right tool for your particular project.

This includes a vastly improved controller section, making it possible to control almost every feature of VPT from another application (like maxmsp, processing and PD), computer, sensors through the arduino microcontroller, midicontroller as well as built in lfo controllers for automating control and software sliders and buttons. This comes on top of the already existing built-in preset and cuelist system for playback. Through OSC, VPT parameters can relatively easy be controlled by gestures, using camera or kinect tracking.
You can easily set up VPT to control simple projector shutters by controlling servomotors using the arduino module.

Templates are provided with the download for exploring OSC on maxmsp and Processing, PD will follow later. Arduino templates for input/output as well as a servo example is also included with the download.

VPT can be used with multiple projectors using Matrox Triplehead2go, and the latest version also includes support for multichannel sound: The movie sources can be individually routed to up to eight channels, depending on your sound card. Using the provided maxmsp template it is possible to process the sound further.

VPT 5.1 includes a new possibillity of processing the sources using the FX bus. The FX bus consists of eight FX chains, modules which contains shader based effects. New FX chain modules can easily be made using the provided maxmsp/jitter template, and can be dragndropped onto the existing FX chain to replace it, making it easy to customize the effects to your particular need.

Three new sources have been added to VPT: A solid (if you just want a colour in a layer), a noise texture generator and a text module which can either use text from file, osc or typed text. A maxmsp/jitter template is also provided if you want to create your own source.

Read more about VPT 5.1 and download it here

Read the online manual

Visit the VPTforum

VPT templates and examples for maxmsp/jitter, PD, Processing and Arduino

VPT is a free multipurpose realtime projection sofware tool for Mac and Windows developed by HC Gilje. Among other things it can be used for projecting video on complex forms, adapt a projection to a particular space/surface, combine recorded and live footage, or for multiscreen HD playback.

Fuglane-behind the scenes

I have uploaded some images from the process of constructing the landscape for the Fuglane scenography, you can see it here as a slideshow.

I started off with a plastelina model (which I don´t feel like sharing with the world), and then continued with a google sketchup 3D model.  I  then got the model milled in styrofoam to use as the presentation model of the scenography. Later the 3d model was converted into technical drawings used by the skilled carpenters at the theatre to build a full scale version (about 10mx7m, the highest top about 1.6m). It was then covered by a material to make it more suitable as a projection surface.

I used a total of 4 projectors, two from above, one frontal, and one for the back wall. I used two macminis with matrox dualhead- to-go splitters and a customised version of my projection software VPT (not unlike the upcoming release).
Everything was controlled from the lighting console of the theatre, using an enttec dmx usb pro interface combined with Olaf Matthes excellent max externals.


On November 13th my second solo exhibition at Galleri 21 in Malmö opened, and it runs until December 5th.

I created two site-specific installations, which both derive from recent work, investigating the relation between light/projection/shadow,space and movement.

At the moment I only have decent documentation of one of the works, so I will just briefly mention “Kaos på dej”, which is basically a variation of the blink (light/shadow) installation but with some furniture.

Snitt, which spanned over three rooms in the gallery, is a projection of a white line onto the surfaces of the gallery: “A straight line moves slowly through the three rooms of the gallery space, cutting the space into different sections (snitt). The movement of the line, “attacking” the space from different angles, focus the attention of the viewer on the physical qualities of the space.

The physical properties of the galllery space (the walls, ceiling,floor, door openings, light fixtures etc) modulates/breaks up the straight line into a continuously evolving pattern of line fragments, depending on the position of the viewer and the angle of the line in relation to the architecture.”

The view in the inner room:

And here is a video showing some of possible configurations of line-space.

If you still want to see more, here is a slideshow.