I AM SELBU
an ongoing site specific cultural research project
Støttet av / funded by Trøndelag Fylkeskommune
What is valuable? What makes it special? Why do I feel connected to this place?
Small rural communities across Norway is slowly loosing ground to supermarkets and development projects. Identity, cultural diversity and certain knowledge related to place and nature is disappearing.
This project have been important to me for several reasons: to find my place back again, to understand where I come from, what it is, what it holds and try to discover what it is that makes it valuable to me. Returning to a small place can be challenge, you often leave because you feel outside, or have a feeling that you lack places or people to connect to. Using myself and the place I grew up also enables to open a wider window to the Norwegian “bygd” (small rural communities) in general. The work make various attempts to grasp identity of the place, make connections past borders and people, and create a greater understanding of - and desire to take care of intangible and material cultural heritage as elements to start new stories from in order to expand existing narratives of the future.
Apart from the fact that it is relevant for me personally, I believe paying attention to these topics are relevant for other communities that experience the same challenges as Selbu such as centralization, aging population, rapid development and disconnection to place. It wish to tap into the importance of opening up the narratives of a place, to insert other stories among the dominating ones, such as blind optimism of a technological future or the unwavering, nostalgic story of the (a) past.
The project embrace an ongoing process of finding out as result, to continuously map, discover and draw new paths. To uncover the multitudes of small rural places and open up for multiple narrative to exist alongside each other. A project rooted in a wish to understand the place I come from, to open it up to myself while letting it also speak to my grandfather and my neighbour.
The work consists of mapping archival material and visual tableaus that contains historical research, found imagery, storytelling and painting where elements overlap and influence each other, play different roles and allow for things to continuously be added, taken away, changed or influenced.
It is deeply inspired and influenced by Persian miniature drawings and collages that illustrate various situations and landscapes in particular from culturally significant poems and stories. Through the grant from region of Trøndelag for young artists I was able to visit Iran, (Persia) to investigate the connection between cultural tableaus and today’s landscape, collect visual references and observe how stories are communicated and cared for. As one of the most culturally rich places in the world with a great knowledge and pride of its traditions, it was a highly influential and important journey where I acquired knowledge about the topic, tried to understand what role they play in Iran today and examine how this language can be used in my own context.
Working with spaces we surround ourselves with and the influence they have on us, one of the arguments that I want to make with this project is that societies where the craftsman disappear in favour of efficiency and prefabrication suffer not only on a visual level, but also, on a deeper intellectual level, depriving us of connection. The less we connect, the less we care.
The project does not want to repeat existing narratives, but rather try to uncover defining elements and weave a new cultural fabric from which historic knowledge and traditions are made visible and merge them into new constellations for the future where they can continue to grow and adapt.
1. Rustam sleeps, while his horse Rakhsh fends off a tiger. Probably an early work by Sultan Mohammed, 1515–20 [Public domain]
2. Bath-house scenem,1495 by Kamāl ud-Dīn Behzād [Public domain]
3. Scene from Attar's Conference of the Birds, painted c. 1600 by Habibulla Meshedi [Public domain]
nea ganka / merlpren
merlpren / nea ganka
gumhelg: hållåskadd / kubbstol