Text Series – ArtScene Trondheim

The Oslo Biennial shows a refreshingly low level of branding and sensationalism. Quite the contrary, it is so unostentatious that locating its headquarters can in itself be something of a challenge. I very nearly ended up at the neighbouring offices of the Oslo Medieval Festival, which was going on at the same time.

A few months before the 1979 UK general election, Margaret Thatcher promised the Chairman of the Arts Council that her government would continue to support the arts. But once elected, she cut spending in all areas of public policy, and the cultural field was no exception. Thatcher’s belief was that the obsolete system of arts patronage should not be compensated for solely by the state, and she appointed Norman St John-Stevas as Arts Minister, who argued that the private sector must be looked to for new sources of funding.

For many of us Brattøra has been the place in Trondheim on the other side of the river where we go swimming, or catch a ferry somewhere else. Now of course it has Rockheim and other changes are afoot in this newish territory reclaimed from the sea. But, as yet, it still seems like a bit of a wasteland. Nevertheless, as we get used to the eastern part of the city coming to resemble wartorn Beirut with the digging operations for the new tunnel, focus has moved on to Brattøra as the next big urban architectural project.