In 2003 the philosopher Glenn Albrecht coined the concept Solastalgia, a combination of the latin worrd  sōlācium (comfort) and the Greek root -algia (pain). Solastalgia describes the phycic and existential distress many feel in relation to environmental change such as mining activity, drought and water pollution. A common trait among the societies exposed to such interventions is that they experience powerlessness and that security disappears. Although Albrecht emphasizes the destruction of a local environment, there are many today who can feel Solastalgia in a much larger perspective. The poles are melting, waste is being dumped in the fjords and extreme weather is causing flooding and destruction.

Link to Facebook-event here.

This exhibition is a result of the research-based course Solastalgia at the Art Academy, led by associate professor Christine Hansen together with research assistent Åsne Eldøy. The course uses the term Solastalgia as a starting point for developing artistic practices in relation to landscape and the environment. On the one hand, the course has focused on the psychological and emotional aspects of climate change. On the other hand, it has focused on observing the landscape through various media. Many agree that it is important to preserve the landscape. It is, however, also important to have a critical discussion of how we observe and gain knowledge of the landscape. On what basis do we base our knowledge? How can this affect the distress?

The environmental controversy about the mining activity at Engebøfjellet has been a case study course. In late January, we visited the mining company, Nordic Rutil in Naustdal and the local community in Vevring. We hiked to Engebøfjellet to see the place where the mining will take place. From the mountain we had a view of the 4 km2 big area where the waste is to be dumped.

Most of the work in the exhibition is based on this field study.

Andrea Grundt Johns shows a slideshow in which we follow The Mouse and the Mountain Top on a journey to Engebøfjellet. They were given to Johns by fellow student/artist Haruka F, with instructions of leaving the Mountain Top behind. The work attempts to see a place through the eyes of someone else and is about letting go. The Mountain Top is now placed on top of Engebøfjellet, protecting the top that might soon disappear in an open pit mining. Grundt Johns has also made a small zine with collected notes and reflections from the field trip. 

Skade Henriksen displays a 6-meter-long visualization of the seabed near Engebøfjellet. The image is made based on the navigation and surveying system Olex which makes subsea maps using data from the sonar and GPS. The images are revealing the hidden landscape beneath the sea surface. What is below perpetually connected to what is above. 

Catherine Deller’s “White Death”, an Atlantic Salmon, rests upon a bed of white plastic and paper, one of the top uses for rutile. Rutile substances are seen coming out of the dead salon, signifying the disastrous effect of the Engebø project on marine life. 

Ann Edvartsen's work "There is a love no one remembers" is a poetic observation of snow formations . She also shows a collection of natural objects that she gathered from Engebøfjellet. Åsne Eldøy has been working on the classic landscape photography and has made a picture from the Engebø Mountain composed of many parts. 

Christine Hansen "Patrimony" shows five family album pictures of her father, Arne Hansen, of various ages with a self-fished salmon. The father was an avid salmon fisherman in Nausta, one of the watercourses that will be affected by a possible mining waste dumping. 

Åsne Eldøy has been working with classical landscape/documentary photography and the idea of geological processes like layering, shifting and abruptions, shown together with a mineral sample. 

Sidsel Bonde’s work Fill/Feel is nine mugs with a poetic deconstruction of Nordic Minings slogan -Minerals for the Future.   

Emily Wright presents an observational, poetic account of communal gathering by way of sound, text and drawing inspired by the meeting with the local community in Vevring.