The Charter of Henningsvær
From September 28-30, on the closing weekend of Lofoten International Art Festival (LIAF), a group of artists and scientists will gather to publicly draft the “Charter of Henningsvær”. It aims to be a platform for the critical investigation into future ecologies of the ocean encompassing ethics, aesthetics and environmental concerns.
The document anticipates a moment in time that is about 50 years from now. It shall outline some of the fundamental values and principles, responsibilities and collaborations that will have emerged out of a, by then already past, exploration and exploitation of ocean space.
Instead of predicting most accurate scenarios, the goal of the gathering is to reverse-engineer our present time through commitments that are made from a future point of departure. This means to imagine the contents of a meanwhile or meantime -- from a variety of different urgencies . It needs to be understood and used as an elliptic, fragmentary and disruptive format, but should discover, reveal and unfold a multiplicity of processes that are interacting with each other.
The gathering takes place in Henningsvær, a fishing village that is located on several islands in the Lofoten archipelago above the Arctic Circle. Here the “three economies” of the ocean over-determine the very location: Food, transport, and the extraction of raw materials.
At the same time, uncertainty, complexity, and fluidity within ocean research are challenging the borders of conventional forms of knowledge production. It always has and continues to open up new opportunities for interventions and change -- carried out in new coalitions of agencies and stakeholders while operating within an epistemology that is based on the understanding of nonlinear systems and regimes of uncertainty.
On this basis, the charter aims to initiating creative conversations between art, science and politics. It is supposed to form a space-time, based on extrapolations of scientific knowledge, simulations of possible futures and the reexamination of strategies of value creation.
Rather than presenting their research, the contributors are invited to speak on behalf or in the name of their experiences and expertise. Rather than representing a current constellation of knowledge, interests or capacities, the challenge is to take the chance to anticipate, enact and perform a future, and thereby virtual, point of view.
Each contributor is supposed to propose at least one paragraph to one of the different chapters of the charter and to introduce it in public. Each contribution should consist of a set of future observations and proposed commitments that result from it. It is staged according to a scripted schedule and performed in a twenty minutes presentation slot that is followed by a discussion moderated by the chair of the session.
The scope of the document is determined by its experimental character. Remaining in the status of a draft, it sets out to link knowledge production in the fields of art and science in full respect of the different working modes and methodologies. As a platform for critical exchange it tries to initiate and enable new alliances that might be capable to make a real difference.
The Charter of Henningsvær is organized by Lofoten International Art Festival (LIAF), the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21)–Academy, organizations whose recent projects have focused on the oceanic space through different methodologies. The Charter of Henningsvær is supported by the Norwegian Council for Research and will take part in Forskningsdagene/The Research Days, a nation wide festival for the communication and sharing of research.