Alternative Histori[es]: A Place Where Something Happened

An ongoing artistic project

Project Description:

This artistic research project is aimed at exploring narrative accounts of Norwegians who self-identify with a multicultural and/or immigration background(s). It has collected stories of their lived experiences, with special interest in an event that happened in a public space and has been experienced as a life changing moment. The stories are being used to produce monuments that will be installed on the sites where the narrated events took place, taking over the public spaces and infusing them with gripping personal narratives to shift how we read and (re)negotiate their past/meaning, generating a ‘capital’ that will demand a ‘new’ way of relating to, and/or understanding, the place, its people and history. This is to create an ‘alternative history’, dedicated to writing and inscribing these voices into public spaces and our broader collective imagination.

The project will happen in three related parts or phases.

Phase One:

The project will collect and record the narratives, focusing on lived experiences of events that happened to them in public spaces. The starting place for this phase is to capture a detailed account of ‘what happened’. The data will be written into stories only using the words of their narrators. The main idea is to find out how the narrators – through their lived experiences – are writing themselves into the fabric of the Norwegian society and story. These personal narratives will form the basis of a book, which is expected to be published as a collection. The book itself will not only be printed as a paperback/hardcover but will also be realised in some interesting way as a monument that will encourage collective reading. So far, over 50 interviews have been conducted and the data is currently being turned into stories.

Phase Two:

As a follow up, this phase is concerned with the question of ‘where did it happen’. The location of the story will be treated as if were a sacred, national ‘site’ – A Place Where Something Happened. Each story will be turned into a ‘monument’ that will be installed on the location or site where it took place – as a way to commemorate the narrated event. By manifesting their stories, aspects of the lived experiences will be physically or emotionally inscribed on and through the landscape. It is hoped that each monument will have an interactive element. The project will seek possibilities for the monuments to be installed as permanent inscriptions that will be available as a fixed feature of the city/country. The final outcome is expected to be curated into a programme of guided tours and walkabouts, offering the general public and tourists the possibility to experience the alternative histories of the city.

See the results of a pilot project of this phase that we did:

Phase Three:

The data from phase 1 and 2 will be used as source material to create a devised performance that will explore the intersections between the individual narratives, to see what collective storyline emerges from them. This will happen in collaboration with a professional cast. This is expected to culminate in a play that will be performed either in a traditional theatre space or outside in public spaces as a site-specific piece.


Theatre For Change

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