3rd October 2010
In honour of ambassador Franz Müller
For one day only, people were able to take the Newcastle no.1 bus to Scandinavia; guests who entered 25SG on the regular Sunday event were asked to take their shoes off at the front door, down a shot of home-made liquorice vodka and then welcomed in to celebrate Scandinavia and Franz Müller, a Norwegian Diplomat who once lived in the house.
Building the work around a celebration of Ambassador Franz Müller we (Skandi) used the historical deeds for the house to begin constructing a story which eventually formed into an event that showcased our feelings of otherness, a sense of nostalgia and highlighted stereotypes in both Scandinavian and English culture.
As immigrants to this country we cling to certain things like food, music and different things experienced in our childhood, to fill our sense of self with country specific (Finland, Sweden, Norway) idioms that in our own cultures would be seen as over the top.
This performance, the party, emphasized these specific Scandinavian pieces of nostalgia (ie. Moomin cartoons, savory sandwich cake and traditional songs) and gave us, the Skandis, a chance to converse with our guests in our own languages. We also decided to, with sign instructions hung in the gallery space, show what we termed as instructions for Scandinavians in England. These instructions highlighted cultural differences.
The sound work exhibited throughout the house consisted of conversations, songs and fighting scenes in Scandinavian and were used as a way to highlight the feeling of confusion with the amount of information one is forced to take in when immersed in to a foreign culture.
Working at 25SG was a pleasure. The unrestricted use of the space prior to the event was very useful. As an unusual exhibition space, the house offered a new forum in which to present live and installation work that made audience interaction more approachable. A gallery venue within a domestic setting turned out to be very suitable for a performative celebration of Scandinavia.