Through a dialogue with an historical archive the project seeks to construct a fluid story of a confined landscape on the point of transformation. Through the negotiation of a multitude of images the project constructs a narrative that transcends the photographic vision as evidence, and questions whether vision can be more than comparable to the ground of an archaeological excavation. Through the use of the photographic essay as a method the intention is to try and interpret the changeability of the urban landscape.
Conventionally the subject matter of the urban landscape has been treated as an examination of modernity, utopian visions, the new, the improved, or as nostalgia, dystopia, decay and loss of the unique. Areas that are inbetween the productive and unseeable are often blotted out from our vision until they are given either esthetical or economical value. "Junkscape" is what the writer and anti-suburbanite James Howard Kunstler in The Geography of Nowhere (1994) calls them. Urban activists and cynics call them "waste places", academics call them "post-industrial space" and the community planner Pamela Robinson has memorably named them "crudscape." In every city there are localities that once were active and productive and now are left abandoned and neglected. Abandoned spaces are potentially good, productive places, waiting for someone to reconsider, reclaim and recreate them as worthy part of the urban landscape.
"Damsgaardsveien" is a compressed area limited to approximately 2 kilometres along the harbour and industrial side of Bergen. From the 1920s to 1970s this part of Bergen consisted mainly of shipbuilding yards and other maritime and industrial related activities. Most of these activities today are closed and the neighbourhood is now in a state of post-industrial re-urbanisation. The Bergen council has already initiated plans to reclaim this territory for urban resettlement. Like many of the water-front areas in larger towns in Europe, Damsgaardsveien will eventually constist of flats and centers for modern urban activites, such as shopping malls, cafes and restaurants. Although the Bergen council sees this district as a possibility for modernisation of Bergen, right now, in its semi-ruined state and on the verge of a more or less total make-over, it has a charm and identity that stems from layers of history folded into it’s streets.
The aim of this project is to visualize the ambivalence of an urban landscape in decay and in anticipation.