This summer the ninth edition of Momentum, the Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art, will be held in Moss, just outside Oslo, Norway. Since its inception in 1998, the festival has been one of the most exciting platforms for Nordic art and artistic ventures that engage with the Nordic context. The five curators are respectively from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland, but the participating artists are from all over the world. This acknowledgement of global interconnectedness is key to understanding the theme of this year’s biennial, ‘Alienation’.
The organisers understand this term in at least three ways. Firstly, current alien-ation: the process of extreme technological, ecological and social development by which contemporary society becomes rapidly transformed. Secondly, social alienation: the paradox of a more connected and interdependent world, which nevertheless hyper-individuates and isolates its inhabitants. The curators explore the current alienation of minority bodies and of refugees as indicative of how stunted and faulty the contemporary ‘interconnected global society’ really is. Thirdly, the science fiction undertones of the theme are understood in a more hopeful, future-focused way. As well as being descriptive of current processes, the organisers sought artists who look ahead with both utopian and dystopian visions. Biennial-goers will be challenged to imagine different futures, to concoct the aliens we might become.
This combined artistic exploration of cultural and geographical borders, biopolitics and social inequality promises to be thoroughly contemporary event, grounded in reality but also looking ahead. Works will be fittingly exhibited in diverse sites in the city of Moss that will provide fruitful juxtapositions with the artworks. MOMENTUM KUNSTHALL is in Moss’s historic city centre, housed in an old industrial and urban centre typical of the region and situated by a river and close to a disused paper factory. GALLERI F-15 occupies the historic Alby Mansion on the island of Jeløy in the Oslo fjord.