In the exhibition 50 billion micrograms, Christine Hansen takes an unsolved mystery and a forgotten media event of 1979 as point of departure. Almost 36 years ago, a giant meteorite reportedly landed in Swan Lake (Svanevannet) in Flora municipality. The artist was 10 years old at the time, lived in Florø, and still remembers the media fuss around this sensation. Based on the size of the hole in the ice, it was assumed that the meteorite weighed about 50 tons. The event was covered by both local and national newspapers. NRK sent several reporters to Swan Lake and the event was broadcast on the evening news with footage both above and below the water. After a long series of newspaper articles and investigations, it was concluded that the item on the lake bottom was not from space.
50 billion micrograms does not attempt to solve the riddle of 1979. Hansen uses poetic and place specific strategies that attempt to materialize the event for the spectator. The exhibition consists of photographs and cyanotypes made on the site featuring water, vegetation, and rocks in and around Swan Lake. In addition, the installation contains the sound footage of NRK recordings from 1979. In one of the pictures, On site, the artist is out in the lake beside the buoy where the meteorite landed. The work is conceived from a strong memory of the wonder of the universe and nature in childhood—where 50 tons could simply disappear into thin air. The project is not just about the meteorite’s disappearance; it examines the loss of memory. Today, a media event of this size would have left innumerable traces in digital memory. 50 billion microgramsis, therefore, also about the current state of media. However, in the late 70s, when our cyber networks did not exist, a sensation could simply disappear without a trace in the depths of the Swan Lake.
Christine Hansen has worked with photo-based projects since she completed her master’s degree in photography at the Bergen National Academy of the Arts and Design in Bergen in 2000. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions, has had several solo exhibitions, and her works have been purchased by the Norwegian Arts Council. She is also represented in the National Museum’s collections. Hansen is a member of the studio community Erfjordgt.8 in Stavanger. Hansen works with representational questions, the photograph’s position in society, and poetic aspects of everyday life. Her work is often about specific places and phenomena, such as psychiatric hospitals, airports, and construction sites. Several of her works have a relation to Hansen’s own family history. An important aspect in 50 billion micrograms is the encounter between personal and collective history. Since 2009, Christine Hansen has taught at the Bergen National Academy of the Arts and Design.
The exhibition is supported by Rogaland County Council, Stavanger Municipality, and Vederlagsfondet.