Ocean Eyes

The seventh edition.

‘Ocean Eyes’, the seventh edition of the Coast Contemporary festival was curated by Valentinas Klimašauskas from Lithuania. It was poised to deliver an open thought-provoking program that celebrated various aspects of (im)possible collaborations and encounters with the unknown, be it the future, unthinkable, untold stories or the ocean, for example.

Through a range of presentations, performances, readings, lectures, hiking, screenings, and other activities or events, the festival provided a platform for invited artists, critics, curators, cultural producers and the public to encounter potential new friendships and numerous presents.

Locations: Lofuotta/Láfot/Lofoten and Bergen, September 18. – 22. 2023.

The title ‘Ocean Eyes’ refers to the sentient ocean on the planet Solaris described in the novel by Stanisław Lem of the same title and a popular song by Billie Eilish, among other things. The ocean, which is one of the examples of the unknown, is a dominant force in the Lofuotta/Láfot/Lofoten Islands. At the current time of multiple ecological and sociopolitical crises, it inspires thinking about (im)possible (in)human collaborations with it. To this day, more than 80 per cent of the ocean has never been mapped, explored, or even seen by humans. Our projections and relationships with it, on the one hand, were and still are based on extractive economy, intensive aquaculture (think of domestication of the salmon, for example), or on fictional and speculative imagery, on the other hand.

Text by Valentinas Klimasauskas.

Ocean Eyes Program 2023

For an overview of institutions & curators please see Participating

Valentinas Klimasauskas. Photo by Visvaldas Morkevičius.

Valentinas Klimasauskas, Curator of ‘Ocean Eyes’

Valentinas Klimašauskas from Lithuania was the appointed curator of the seventh edition of Coast Contemporary, titled ‘Ocean Eyes’. It took place in Lofuotta/Láfot/Lofoten Islands in the north of Norway, September 2023.

Performance Lecture on Restorative Love Economics, Somerset House, October 2022

Yaa Addae

Yaa Addae (GH/UK) is a participatory curator, writer, and community researcher. Their practice is informed by the liberatory power of the imagination, play, and restorative love economics: bringing love to the systemically underloved. Yaa works to reimagine cultural infrastructure and in 2019 co-created ‘Black Diaspora Literacy: From Negritude to Drake’, a 10 week course supported by Tufts University’s Experimental College. Later, they were a researcher for Ano Institute’s Mobile Pavilion and Cultural Encyclopedia of African Art.

Kjetil Berge og Göran Ohldieck, censored image from MASKS, 1982

Kjetil Berge

Kjetil Berge is an artist and curator based in London and Kvalnes, Lofoten. Currently Berge is working on crocheting textiles referring to the idea of the comfort blanket, extending into forms evoking flags, screens and nets. Drawing on his early introduction to art through crocheting he takes on a process of bending time by extending the thread from his early life through to present concerns.

Queer pirate flag. Salt Art & Music solo exhibition, 2022.

Pia Eikaas

Pia Eikaas´s artistic practice is centered around city spaces, through the act of flâneusing and with a queer feminist lens she tries to examine how our cities are organized and what stories they hold. Looking at water in cities as a possible potential for telling queer stories and examining the potential of a retelling of the city through the medium of analogue photography.

Sjøtroll/Sea Troll (1967) by Kaare Espolin Johnson. Image at the courtesy of the Espolin Gallery, Museum Nord.

Kaare Espolin Johnson (1907-1994) & The Espolin Gallery, Museum Nord

Between various inspirations of the concept of the festival “Ocean Eyes” is an image of “Sea Troll” (1967) by artist Kaare Espolin Johnson. Somewhat rough and open-to-various interpretations, the image depicts the possibility of the relationship between what may be called (more than) human (fisherman), imaginary (a chthonic sea troll) and nature (fish/ocean/wildness/unknown). At a certain point in his life, the artist had a vision of minus 22 which deeply affected his vision but also his technique and style. In the biographical documentary about the artist’s life in the Espolin gallery, Johnson talks about the necessity of having a chthonic soul companion and the picture of the sea troll suggests a possible realization of this need.

Hiking in Lofoten with Elisabeth Færøy, 2023. Photo Valentinas Klimasauskas

Elisabeth Færøy

Elisabeth Færøy is a former performance artist from the visual arts field, turned into hula hoop queen. In all her work, Elisabeth creates moments for meetings, with the essence of being present in what is. A local guide in Lofoten, running creative retreats like the Arctic Bodypainting retreat. She also runs the open stage concept MØLJE (also the name of the local fish dish, a mix of arctic cod, roe and liver) where the local community get the chance to share anything from art, music, poetry, lectures, new business and film.

Dance Derivé Mouth. The Lithuanian and Cyprus Pavillion, La Bienale di Venezia, 2013.

Morten Norbye Halvorsen

Morten Norbye Halvorsen is an artist and composer, whose sound works and musical performances are guided by props, websites, photographs, scripted recordings and concert appearances in an ongoing exploration of collaboration and sound.


Kåre Aleksander Grundvåg

Through various sculptural techniques and process-based projects, Grundvåg explores a non-human architecture. Material experimentation, bio-mimetics and traditional knowledge are included as elements in the practice, with the coastal landscape of Northern Norway as a frame of reference.

Signe johannessen. still hic sunt dracones (foto tasneem chan

Signe Johannessen

Signe Johannessens work speculates on hybrid bodies, historical paraphrases and the potentials of the posthumous. Playfully combining episodes from her own biography and historical archives, her work continuously renegotiates the traumas and the pleasures of intimate relationships between women, children, and other animals, while expanding the notion of family and kin.

Johannessen is presented in a co-production collaboration with North Norwegian Art Centre in Svolvær, Lofoten. Curator Torill Østby Haaland and Director Marianne Hultman.

Home Sweet Home, digital photo print on archival hahnemühle satin rag paper, Oslo, 2022

Sarah Kazmi

Sarah Kazmi (PK) is an interdisciplinary artist and a writer whose artistic practice moves across research and visual production, observing the relationship between food, language and politics. She works with the medium of writing where her texts are visual, rhythmic and performative; often conveyed through a variety of disciplines, which includes sound pieces, video, installations and performance.

Season of Migration to the North, 2015,
Video instalation.

Lars Laumann

A gifted storyteller Laumann draws inspiration from the margins of pop culture and people and phenomena on the outskirts of society presenting these explorations in videos, textiles, installations and printmaking.

Trompe-l'œil. Solo exhibition at Gyllenpris Kunsthall, 2022.

Bjørn Mortensen

Text from Mortensens exhibition Feeding Fetish, by curator Marie Nerland, VOLT.
In the ceramic sculptures artist Bjørn Mortensen has worked on in recent years, he has often returned to overloading an object with potential functions. He has made sculptures that could serve as both a container, birdhouse, incense holder, fountain, flower pot and garden fireplace at the same time. These manifold functions have nevertheless only marked a potential within the objects. In the works for the exhibition at VOLT in Bergen, his aim has been to activate all the potentials at the same time. Using the title Feeding Fetish, Mortensen both hints at how these works may function, but also at how he himself has worked when creating them, “feeding” them with new layers, objects and functions.

Curator Marie Nerland, founder of VOLT, will also be present during Ocean Eyes.

2019 10 14 kunsthall stavanger sandra vaka lo 12

Sandra Vaka

Through a conceptual approach to photography, Vaka juxtaposes seemingly incompatible factors such as water and technology, the eternal and the perishable. In particular, she explores how human perception, body and identity evolve in a constantly changing reality and nature. Both humor and seriousness are combined when Vaka explores everyday things that we connect to our body, such as towels, straws and screens, with a nod to desire, consumption and pleasure that characterizes today’s consumer society.

The Group Crit, by Sille Storihle

Sille Storihle

Storihles artistic practice encompasses a body of work in dialogue with queer archives and pasts, exploring relationships between power and performativity. Their current research and work focuses on live action role-playing games (LARP) as an artistic methodology in the production of moving images.

During Coast Contemporary Storihles latest film, The Group Crit, will be screened in the cinema at Kabelvåg School of Moving Images. The film was created in collaboration with students at the school, as a part of a workshop.

Istvan virag pixel pitch 4 webres 17

Istvan Virag

Istvan Virags (HU) artistic research revolves around alternative economic theories (e.g. ecological economy, post-growth). In recent years he has been developing projects that aim to visualise friction between the established and new paradigms of global governance, and explore alternatives to the dominant neoliberal perspective of the homo economicus.

Virag is presented in a production collaboration with Henie Onstad Art Center at Høvikodden.

The Silk Roads, from The Exotic Dreams and Poetic Misunderstandings project. Solo exhibition at Kunsthall Grenland, 2019. Cobalt blue porcelain, 10 x 4 M. Photo: Aliona Pazdniakova

Lin Wang

Lin Wang (CH) mainly works with porcelain as a material, and through performance that uses various expressions such as food, video, smell and tattooing. In her work, Wang seeks to expand the understanding of what ceramic art can be understood as, and how ceramic art can be used to penetrate private, social and public spheres.

Elin Már. Photo: Solfrid Sande

Elin Már Øyen Vister

Elin Már Øyen Vister is an artist and forager with their base on Røst, South -Westernmost part of Lofoten (Norway/Sápmi). With a broad background in audio and music (as DJ and producer, and in-field recording and radio), they bring an interdisciplinary approach and experience of a multitude of practices to their expression. Már is occupied with listening as life practice and as a way to compose, sense, and experience the world, much inspired by Pauline Oliveros’s Deep Listening philosophy and aesthetic philosophy.

Elin Már has invited Lina Salomonsen Sjølie, Máret Rávdna Buljo and Torgeir Norkild to the sesory walk Listening in the footsteps of Ane Truls, is a sensory walk through cultural heritage sites of Kabelvåg / Gábelváhke, that can be understood as an artistic response or dialogue with The Truth and Reconciliation Commission´s report.

The walk is Co-presented with partnering institution, the Riddu Duottar Museat.