Bjørvika is a former harbour area of the City of Oslo, currently under major development and construction, changing the former industrial harbour into a site for commercial enterprises, living, working and recreation. It will become the new city centre with the new Opera and the relocated Munch-Stenersen Museum to be built in the area.
The project Common Lands (curated by Ase Lovgren and Karolin Tampere) uses the processes around these developments to investigate questions around urbanisation, democracy, accessability and distribution of power. Commonlands especially wishes to focus on the democratic aspect of the developments, both in relation to which voices are being heard during the planning process and for which social layers the area is being planned. Common Lands aims to relate to similar processes in other post industrial cities, where re-defining and transformation of waterfronts are a current tendency.
Bik van der Pol project proposed to speculate on the role of culture in society in the future. They created Speculation: a workshop as a preparation for a soundpiece. A group of specific participants were invited - people not only specialized and engaged with culture, but also engaged with urban, social,
financial and economic issues. During a day-long session these fellow speculators formulated ideas, thoughts, and fantasies about the future. What will the Oslo citizen experience on the evening of, lets say, June 21, 2021? Can we think of a reflection of the future? Will culture still exist?
The opera might, by then, still function as opera, but performances are taking place on the big public square: the roof of the building. The Munch museum might have sold all its famous paintings to generate finances to invest in the climate. The library might just move out of its building- to one single room where one main computer streamlines and disseminates digitally all that is ever written all over the world.
The script, deriven from the workshop, becomes a soundpiece, performed by two actors. Both voices - a male and a female- are amplified on the intensely used pedestrian bridge to the Opera, connecting Blorvika with the city center. The script is also disseminated as an insert in the May 1 issue of the newspaper Klassekampen, and as a blogtext on Commonlands. During the opening, the actors improvised live on the script, bringing the debate on public space back into the public realm.