Toril Johannessen: Where is the High North?

Østre, Østre Skostredet 3 + streamed on Vimeo 12.11.2022 14.3012.11.2022 15.30


The “High North” is not a place with a clear geographical border, but rather a fluid concept whose meaning has changed over the past decades. By drawing maps showing linguistic phenomena in this approximate area, Toril Johannessen traces fragments of military presence and geopolitical affairs in the everyday language and in the landscape.

Time: 12 November at 14:30
Venue: Østre, Østre Skostredet 3
Available at Vimeo:

In her contribution to the symposium, Johannessen will share insights into the process of and conditions for two public art projects she recently worked on in Northern Norway; one is currently being developed, while the other will not be realised. 

Both projects, started in 2020 and 2021, deal with memory policy and border areas with Russia. Taking this as a point of departure, Johannessen will discuss examples of how the invasion of Ukraine has changed the situational understanding, the writing of history and the prerequisites for art moving through the terrain of the “High North”. 


Toril Johannessen works methodically and in a research-based way across media, such as prints, textiles, text and installation. Information as material is central in many of her projects, for instance by creating her own data sets with images or words that constitute the basis of the works. Combining historical data with her own investigations, and with an attention to how western scientific methodologies coexists with other frameworks for knowledge, Johannessen explores – as a recurring theme – the impact of historical conditions and technological developments on modes of perception. Recent work includes public commissions for City of Bergen and KORO, and participation in the Munch Triennale.

Image: Toril Johannessen, excerpt of a sketch from the map “Stedsnavn på folkemunne”.

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