SKADE HENRIKSEN, U. T. 2019
In 2003 the philosopher Glenn Albrecht coined the concept Solastalgia, a combination of the Latin word sōlācium (comfort) and the Greek root -algia (pain). Solastalgia describes the psychic 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.
This exhibition is a result of the research-based course Solastalgia at the Art Academy in 2019. The term Solastalgia was used as a starting point for developing artistic practices in relation to landscape and the environment. On the one hand, we focused on the psychological and emotional aspects of climate change. On the other hand, we 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 4km2 big area where the waste is to be dumped. Most of the work in the exhibition is based on this field trip.
The exhibition is supported by the Faculty of Art, Music and Design, University of Bergen.