Karolin Tampere

How does the landscape shape the view of oneself and the world? (Working title)

University of Bergen, Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design  / UiT The Artic University of Norway, Academy of Arts


30 sec excerpt from the podcast "The Gift of Scent" Norway - Owls in the Moss. Artist Randi Nygård is in an interview with me introducing her research on bogs in Norway. The narration is telling the backstory behind The Gift of Scent, a project we have collectively contributed to the Chilean pavilion at the Venice biennale 2022.

A note about the working title / or In the search for a research title/question:


I am currently re-evaluating the title of my research which I find has too diffusing qualities. It has not been fruitful when communicating the actual intentions of my research. In itself, I do find the question productive, though, useful as a straight on tool for demanding reflection to happen. I imagine the content and direction of my research to continue following the paths I have made this far, but to find myself another title, a more suitable companion-question. Something more curious, multilayered and differently challenging.


I started my endeavors in this program January 2022. My artistic research project will overall be realized from the field of curatorial practice with an anchor point in the multidisciplinary networks and context(s) of the circumpolar north. It is currently being re-formulated, something which I consider an conscious method for flexibility to be used actively for supporting the goings-on of a research. Allowing this research project(s) to be perforated and informed by changes in the world at large and life in general. To actively engage in the ongoingness of becoming, with a non-linear, collaborative approach informed by uncertainties, and to stay present in the not-knowing.


My artistic and curatorial practice is based on a dialogue and often collaboration-participation-based discourse that practically focuses on collective work, hands-on labour and long-term presence and immersion in selected issues and / or in chosen places. One synergy effect of such a practice may be to expand the curatorial role, to introduce its tools and methods to unfold it with other self-organized sociopolitically engaged organizations and parallel curatorial practices.


When applying for the research position in December 2020, I imagined to continue on a project I embarked on between 2010-2017. A slice of it is presented as an essay in the anthology I Wild Living Marine Resources Belong to Society as a Whole. My wish and idea was to find a «formula» that was poetic, open and holding at the same time. A guideline to keep me safe onboard a ship sailing without any compass; led by a current that would open up several topics for wonder and could move in multiple directions, through several (non-)disiplines; something productively open ended. To investigate loose threads, anchoring them across unforeseen spaces of the minds and bodies in places. The geographies, locations, sediments of both past and present his/her-stories in language, tacit knowledges, sounds, senses, geopolitics, cares, traces, collaborations, scents, climates, ecologies and economies.


I have approached this PhD project as an exploratory artistic-curatorial practice which in parallel go hand in hand and entangle with knowledges from other disciplines, agents and thinkers. The theoretical follows the practical. Learning comes through experience and presence. What can one learn from the impulses that lived, experience generates in bodies (of flesh, water, soil, air, love, care, dreams)? How can this be reformulated and anchored in or translated to theoretical and practical discourse to contribute to new knowledge for curatorial practices?


Extractivist mining for natural resources, politicians and policymakers, military infrastructures and the war machine, first nations peoples, entrepreneurs and agents in tourism, artists and curators; many has interests in the «north» these days. A circumpolar region in constant change: what is required when living and acting in such a "landscape" characterized by ideas, dreams, traumas, fears, his/herstories, predation and outside interests?


Part of the feminist research collective Ensayos, I have alongside a group of artists since 2010 and with an ecofeminist prism, searched for parallels between the relationship to climate and natural conditions in the northern areas, to investigate conditions in similar geographical areas in the far south. The Phd research is a continuation of these studies, experiences and projects I have recently been engaged with. In this phd research I want to work out a practical-curatorial investigation and play of what I currently name «landscape».


At the time of my application back in 2020, I thought the Landscape Convention's definition could be an interesting first starting point. Aiming to see if I could make use of it as a working tool/a prism that could lead my thinking and give interesting directions to my still open curatorial investigations across the topics I am concerned with. This is also where the title is inspired from.

Here is a excerpt from this convention to make us ponder upon what the definition of landscape actually can be:


«Landscapes are not just areas characterized by natural and cultural factors, but human perceptions of these areas must be recognized as one necessary part of the concept of landscape: "Landscape" means an area, as people perceive it, whose distinctiveness is a result of the influence of and the interaction between natural and / or human factors.


In my PhD project, I work with curatorial methods, investigating prisms such as decolonial, feminist, visceral and collaborating practicing formats based on sound and listening as key tools, spaces and dissemination formats. The curatorial practice focus to tune in to multiple channels simultaneously, and zoom out, in a micro-macro perspective to join polyphonic compositions examine the diversity of "landscapes" in the "north". Sound frequencies as a vehicle and communication of the "landscapes" where narratives are nested. This implies further in-depth study of the technical and practical aspects of audio, in parallel with the presentation the opportunities the medium contributes. Can one with the help of recordings create platforms for pluralism and how to achieve new perspectives? With the awareness that ideas about «north» still characterized by coloniality, I think it is still relevant to critically examine ways "North" is produced in light of current conditions. With call and response as method and initial entrance to the «landscape» is the goal to facilitate pluralism where improvised polyphonies of voices can also be the basis for other stories about the "north".


I envisioned that podcasts I produce as part of the research may be made available via the internet and played over local radios in the region. Presentations of the project parts can occupy libraries and community centers. Sound as a format is mobile and considered convenient, it can join home to people, across boundaries in national borders, time and space. I belive it can contribute to a low-threshold offering and receiving with the art as a common anchor point.


Sound sample from a pre-project. Source: “Who Is Your Daddy? Who Is Your Mommy?” from the album Soundtrack of an Imaginary Opera Composer: Rebecka Sofia Ahvenniemi The musicians: Elisabeth Holmertz, voice; Martina Starr-Lassen, voice; Ørjan Hartveit, voice; Erik Håkon Halvorsen, synth; Owen Weaver, percussion; Jutta Morgenstern, violin; Agnese Rugevica, cello.


Karolin Tampere (b. Tallinn, Estonia) is a PhD Research fellow at Tromsø Art Academy, UiT - The Arctic University of Norway and Faculty of Fine Art, University of Bergen.


Karolin Tampere (b. Tallinn, Estonia) is a visual artist and curator currently based in Tromsø, Norway. Part of her practice is to write for artists, often commissioning new works in so called periferies, striving to present artistic practice and work with an transdisciplinary approach. Her most recent writing appears in the British Council-commissioned publication Where Strangers Meet, on the work of Futurefarmers.


She has a particular interest in collaborative and sociopolitically engaged practices, sound and listening. Since 2004 she has regularly contributed to the forever lasting” art project Sørfinnset Skole/the nord land with artists Geir Tore Holm and Søssa Jørgensen, and together with Åse Løvgren the ongoing collaboration Rakett was initiated in 2003. During 2013 and partly 2014 she was serving as director of Konsthall C in Stockholm and transformed the directorship into a collaboration named the Work Group/Arbetslaget with artists akcg(anna kindgren and carina gunnars) and Anna Ahlstrand.


Tampere is since 2010 part of Ensayos - a collective feminist research practice enacted by artists, scientists, activists, policymakers, and local community members. Sustaining focus on the ecopolitics of archipelagos for the past decade, Ensayos have developed distinct inquiries into extinction, human geography, and coastal health. Most currently Ensayos was in the online artist residency at New Museum, New York, with the project Ensayos: Passages. Between 2017 - 2022 Tampere had the position as curator at the North Norwegian Art Centre in Svolvær, Lofoten archipelago and amongst other realized several site sensitive and context specific projects with artists across the region of Northern Norway. Together with Hilde Mehti, Neal Cahoon and Torill Østby Haaland she co-curated LIAF2019 which received the Norwegian Critics price of honor.


Most recently, in 2022 she was contributing to the collective project «The Gift» where Ensayos supported the HOL HOL TOL - The Chilean Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale in Italy. Ensayos collaborators Caitlin Franzmann (Australia), Christy Gast (New York, United States) and Randi Nygård (Norway) were working with “pods” of artists and ecologists to explore the ecology and culture of peatlands local to their regions. The three groups, with collaborators including Freja Carmichael (curator and Ngugi woman of the Quandamooka people), Denise Milstein (sociologist), Renee Rossini (ecologist), Simon Daniel Tegnander Wenzel and Karolin Tampere (curator/artist) have conjured gifts of scent from international peatlands that contributed to the multisensory experience of the pavilion in Venice. The publication featuring their project will be in distribution from June 3rd, the World Peatlands day 2023.