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30 · 03 · 2018

WATERFRONT: study trip to Oslo

The Waterfront project participants visit Oslo during 5-8 April as the final event of the international programme “Strengthening Nordic-Russian network in ecological advocacy” implemented by the Danish Cultural Institute, Street Art Research Institute & supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers.




Aim of the study trip is to familiarise with Nordic experience of urban spaces transformation in time when industrial functions in the city are re-developed into recreational and eco-friendly. Idea is to study how potentially “Dialogue with water” – everyday lifecycle of a person can be improved from the point of view of urban development, ecology, economy, sociology and anthropology. Group includes curator & producer of the Waterfront project, implemented in St. Petersburg in autumn 2017, researchers, urbanist, journalist, media-artist, and members of non-governmental organisations.

During visit to Oslo the group will meet the Urban development department of Oslo Municipality, visit the Norwegian Parliament and Nordic Innovation, talk to local artists, urbanists and city activists to know more about landscape changes of the Norwegian capital and how ecology, culture and public engagement influence creation of common comfortable, safe & friendly urban environment.

Overall programme activities already included study visit of professionals and artists from St. Petersburg, Murmansk and Arkhangelsk to Helsinki & Copenhagen in June 2017.

The programme on Eco-advocacy was kicked off during the “Barents Bird” international cultural festival in Murmansk (22-29 April 2017) when the Danish Cultural Institute presented an art project with focus on environment and culture. “Novaya Zemlya – New land effect” is a polar mirage caused by high refraction of sunlight between atmospheric thermoclines. It seems like sun rise after Polar night but in reality it is an optical illusion caused by difference in inversion layer’s temperature gradient. Our modern world is full of illusions: artificial sun, intellect, nature, food. More ecological and social challenges are arising and human identity is getting blurred and indistinct. Therefore, as a trend more people are trying to get back to their nature roots, eco lifestyles.


Jacob Remin, the Danish visual artist, interaction designer and engineer made an outdoor performance “Harvesting the Rare Earth” at the entrance of the Murmansk Arts College. Performance focused on presentation on how rare earth elements affect our everyday life.  Famous Finnish street artists EGS spent the whole festival week in Murmansk making graffiti on identity and borders themes at Murmansk regional library. Result “Drifting ice in the Arctic” was presented on 29 April.


Later in the year, Petter Bratland, Norwegian street art performer, arranged a side-event in Murmansk as part of the eco-advocacy project and made graffiti on very important eco-topic – damaging plastics in the world ocean.


Another programme part was the Waterfront project on 21-26 September 2016. A two day discussion (21-22 September) at the newly created business & cultural cluster “Sevcable Port” was held in the framework of the X St. Petersburg International Innovation Forum, where urbanists, developers, Russian and Nordic (Norwegian, Finnish, Danish, Swedish) planning authorities and architects share their experiences regarding the development of waterfront. The main theme of the discussion will be about which major urbanistic projects that have been realized on the coastline.


In addition, an exhibition was part of the project and consisted of various art pieces made by 14 artists from Russia, Finland and Denmark, ranging from huge “industrial” art objects to sound art and complex installations with video projects on the subject of water, urbanists, ecology, economy, sociology, and anthropology.


Programme of 2017 ended with the International Arctic Art Forum in Arkhangelsk on 25 & 26 November. During conference, exhibitions, concerts & discussions participants from Denmark, Norway, Finland & Russia talked about design, art & its influence on quality of life. Sustainable food, clothes, buildings, transport, urban environment surround us every day. Interaction with the product can influence health of people and life quality satisfaction.


Recently the Waterfront exhibition (curator Dmitry Pilikin) was long-listed for the best curatorial project of 2017 by Sergey Kuryokhin Award. Winners will be announced on 17 April 2018.


Фото: landezine.com / Tomasz Majewski, Ivan Brodey

"Sevcable" port, St. Petersburg. Photo: Ilya Davydov