About BEK Archive
Since the start of 2000, a myriad of art and technology projects have been created through the Bergen Centre for Electronic Arts (BEK). These projects form a rich history with many different angles and parallels and with BEK functioning as a resource centre and springboard for development, playing a significant role in the field of electronic arts. An archive of the past 20 years had, up to now, been located in the memory and, along with BEK’s servers, in the hard drives of the artists who have worked here. On the occasion of BEK’s 20th anniversary in 2020, it was time to retrieve and reflect on this story. The projects in the archive enhance our understanding of the developments within art and technology — even though 20 years is a relatively short time in history, the technology that was around in 2000 can be seen as being from the stone age in comparison to where we are today. BEK’s history is local, national and international as it stems from the extensive networks of BEK as an institution and the artists connected to it.
In working with the archive, we have been looking at some key issues: How to present art that is challenging, or near impossible, to document? How to facilitate the showing and sharing of art that was created within a specific technological period, with all its limitations, possibilities and associated aesthetics? How to tell a diverse institutional history with many perspectives? How to interpret memories, anecdotes and polyphony — the different notes of the same organisational score? Is it possible to trace the moments where a particular technology or view of technology wins out over another, and to look at how this has consequences for the current situation?
BEK came to life in an environment that emphasised sharing and do-it-yourself approaches, where development and process were central. This means that, within a documentation project such as the BEK Archive, it can be difficult to pinpoint the origin or final results of these approaches, where exactly the development happens in a larger international environment, and what the ripple effects are.
By highlighting projects from BEK’s 20 years in the field, we also highlight the field of art and technology more broadly. The projects we present range widely in format and media, and include digital and time-based art, video, sound, stage projects, music, film and more. Under ‘Chronology’ you can discover our history all the way back to the small shoots that grew to form BEK. In ‘Features’, we reflect on themes and projects that span a longer period of time, and which have proven to be particularly relevant for the artists and the environment associated with BEK. ‘Projects’ provides an insight into artists’ projects associated with BEK or those that have been developed here.
This first version of the archive provides a small insight into some of what has taken place. This is not the whole story, but it offers some insights and perspectives. Going forward, the BEK Archive will grow as more reflections, projects and themes are added. The BEK Archive brings to life the stories of BEK’s history but is just as much a platform that simultaneously archives and presents arts projects.
We are interested in your feedback! Is there something else you remember, or something you remember differently? Have you got ideas about what topics we should focus on? We will be creating an online forum for feedback and comment, but meanwhile you can get in touch via e-mail email@example.com
The BEK Archive has been created by:
Editors and project management: Lars Ove Toft and Vilde Salhus Røed
Co-editors: Anne Marthe Dyvi (To Video), Marieke Verbiesen, and Sissel Lillebostad (motlyd)
Author of the chronology: Dušan Barok
Translation and proofreading: Lene Stokseth (Norwegian chronology), Vilde Salhus Røed (Norwegian Å video and motlyd) and Pip Rowson (English chronology, To Video and motlyd)
Interview and fact check chronology: Anne Marthe Dyvi, Ellen Røed, Espen Sommer Eide, Gisle Frøysland, Jørgen Larsson, Lars Ove Toft, Marieke Verbiesen, Marit Paasche, Per Platou, Roar Sletteland, Signe Lidén, Trond Lossius, Vilde Salhus Røed and Åse Løvgren.
Design: Stian Remvik
Programming: Sindre Sørensen
Project management: Vilde Salhus Røed
Resource group: Marieke Verbiesen, Trond Lossius and Vilde Salhus Røed.
With thanks to Gaby Wijers and Sanneke Huisman (Digital Canon), Anky Heidenreich and Filippo Gianetta (transmediale), Jon Ippolito (The Variable Media Network), Per Platou (Videokunstarkivet), Amanda Steggell, Ellen Røed, HC Gilje and Piotr Pajchel (in interviews with Marieke Verbiesen), and Jana Winderen, Jørgen Træen and Maia Urstad (in conversation with Sissel Lillebostad about motlyd).
And many thanks to all the artists and contributors to this first version of the BEK Archive!
The BEK Archive has been created with support from the Norwegian Arts Council, Bergen City Council and Vestland County Council.