Bergen Assembly 2016 wish to thank the audience, artists, funders and all contributors who made it possible to realize a groundbreaking art project. During 2016 we produced and showed 16 exhibitions, 20 major performance and/ or concert events, 66 seminars/ lectures/ workshops/ artist talks or courses, 2 conferences, and 32 other events/ activities in Bergen. We are pleased that our diverse program gained international recognition, and that Bergen Assembly has been established as one of the more interesting and challenging international perennials.
Pointing to the multitude of practices in contemporary art and related research, Bergen Assembly 2016 offered three distinct propositions, expanded and developed in different temporal registers by the artistic directors: Tarek Atoui, freethought, and PRAXES.
Sound artist, composer and curator Tarek Atoui has in recent years worked on bodily experience of sound. In this work he has sought insight and experience from deaf and hearing impaired, and utilized their experience to expand and enrich our relations to sound, music and communication. In his work for the Bergen Assembly, he engaged technicians, researchers, deaf and hearing impaired, musicians, composers, school students, artists, together in a joint project: expanding our understanding and experience of sound and music. Through his work with international artists, the music scene in Bergen and the curatorial platform Council (Sandra Terdjman and Gregory Castéra), we experienced an exhibition of new instruments for communication and experience of sound, artworks, films and objects that deepened this. Tarek Atoui and Council used the abandoned swimming pool “Sentralbadet” for their project, and here we could experience everything from Deep Listening sessions with Pauline Oliveros/ Ione, through individual sound massage consultations, experiences of sounds that are not usually audible, reproduced through “sub -packs “directly to the skeleton or via speakers, to the major concert events where brand new types of audio/ musical instruments were used.
The collective freethought (Irit Rogoff, Stefano Harney, Adrian Heathfield, Massimilliano Mollona, Louis Moreno and Nora Sternfeld) gave us a deep dive in the term “infrastructure”, through the seminars and lectures that were conducted in 2015 and 16. The work was concretized in the exhibitions in Hagerupsgården and Bergen Kunsthall in September 2016: Archives of Substance, End of Oil, Infrastructure of Feeling, Shipping and the Shipped, Spirit Labor, The Museum of Burning Questions. The conference The Infrastructure Summit was a summary of freethought´s work on the theme, and the meeting point/ performance arena the Partisan Café became an invaluable gathering point for the Bergen Assembly 2016.
PRAXES, an initiative founded by Kristine Siegel & Rhea Dall, focused on long-term engagement with fewer artists presenting exhibitions, talks, old and new works, sketches centered around only two artistic practices. Throughout 2016 we were presented with old and new works from the oeuvres of Lynda Benglis and Marvin Gaye Chetwynd. PRAXES contributed greatly to Bergen Assembly’s ability to offer an alternative time span and deepening that could be an alternative to the festivalisation of biennials.
Bergen Assembly appreciates the international acclamation for our project, and that international art media recognizes us as a ground breaker and challenge in the field of international perennials.