Ended project

HC Gilje - light castings from Vardø

As part of NNKS’s focus on Norway’s northeastern city, HC Gilje plans to realize a series of Vardø portraits in the form of light castings.

“I had my first meeting with Vardø in the fall of 2015 where I joined the coastal cruiser Hurtigruten from Kirkenes. Vardø was surrounded by thick fog. The reason for my visit was that I was working on a project where I had booked a spot on the lighthouse on Hornøya to film the sea, but because of the fog, it was not possible to realize. This gave me a few extra days to explore the city of Vardø and its surroundings and I was immediately captivated. Since then I have been looking for an opportunity to do something in Vardø.”
— HC Gilje

The artwork:
HC Gilje plans to realize a series of Vardø portraits in the form of light casts. The portraits take the form of three-dimensional light castings, which are created using a LIDAR scanner. LIDAR is related to both sonar and radar, and emits invisible light pulses that are reflected back from the surrounding environment. The result is a thin shell, an imprint of the original place and the people in it, a frozen moment orbited by a virtual camera. The three-dimensional cloud of white dots that make up the outline is enveloped in endless black. The perspective is detached from the body, the eye or a physical camera so that light casting can be seen from the inside and the outside, from underneath or from above, close to or at a distance.

The artist:
HC Gilje (b. 1969) works with installations where volatile media – such as sound, projections, light and motion – can change and activate a certain space. Gilje graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Trondheim (1999) and after spending many years in Berlin he now resides in Oslo. Gilje has shown works around the world, and some of his most recent solo exhibitions have been at Trøndelag Center for Contemporary Art (2020), Stereolux (2019), ANX (2018), Kunsthall Grenland (2018), Rake Visningsrom (2016) and Kristiansand Kunsthall (2016). He has participated in several festivals, such as Sonic Acts in Amsterdam (2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019) and LIAF (2013). Gilje participated in the project Dark Ecology (2015-17) and in several group exhibitions.

Vardø (Northern Sami; Várggát, Kven: Vuorea, Finnish: Vuoreija)
Vardø is the easternmost town of Norway. It has a population of approximately 2000 people and is the only town in Finnmark where you can experience a continuous pre-war architecture originating from before the Second World War. It is the region´s oldest fishing village and was known as the Pomeranian capital, as it was a centre for trade with Russia in the 19th century. In more recent times Vardø is home for the Steilneset memorial, the Nordic championship of snowball throwing (part of the Yukigassen). In Vardø, Kystopprøret (the coastal uprising) has also originated – a movement that strongly criticizes how the the common marine resources have been privatized and brought out of the region.

Over the past two years, the North Norwegian Art Center has commissioned and presented a series of art projects in Mo i Rana. Alongside the new art projects NNKS has actualized art´s presence in the town of Mo through several public presentations and meetings. The launch of the NNKS activities in Vardø is a successor to this context-specific long-term project. Between 2020 and 2022, NNKS will continue the long-term commitment at a selected location in Northern Norway, this time Vardø in the county of Finnmark.

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