Open Out 2018: a Short Review

As we are preparing for Open Out 2019, here is a photographic review of selected works and events that were featured at the 2018 edition of the Festival.

Open Out 2018 was a full week of artistic events: six exhibition venues with video works, photography, paintings, embroidery work and sound art; four performances including a guided tour of Tromsø, an ink painting, a ‘Feminist Poster Manufactory’ and a dance performance; a T-shirt workshop for the Festival volunteers and a self-defence workshop ; a two-day seminar and a conversation about trans* experience and trans* rights in Norway; as well as several other events in collaboration with artistic groups in Tromsø.

In total we had around 860 visitors, 20 featured artists from 10 different countries including 15 artists who were able to join us in Tromsø in person.

It was a great learning experience to create the Festival from scratch with the help of our amazing group of volunteers. We hope to bring more amazing queer artists to Tromsø next year for an expanded art experience in 2019!


Tactual Interest by Erik Thörnqvist (Three-channel video installation, 2018) is a fictional work set in the future that deals with the issues humanity is facing today: recycling of textile waste and the inhumane nature of factory systems.


Segern i förskott (Our Hopes Up) by Sam Hultin (Video, 2017). In the video ten representatives of Stockholm LGBTQI+ community are reading acceptance speeches on stage, telling stories of their life struggles, talking about their inspirations and expressing their gratitudes. According to Sam, “the work was inspired by the Swedish actress Saga Becker’s acceptance speech which she held, as the first trans person ever, after winning the Swedish version of an Oscar – a Guldbagge – for best female lead in 2015. Her speech made me think about the hope and possibilities it awoke for other lgbtqi+ people and especially for trans people who saw it.”


Behind the scenes of installing Tintorest by Emily Sparkes (Oil on canvas, 2016) at Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum, Norway’s northernmost art museum and ‘Museum of the Year 2017’ according to Norges Museumsforbund (Norway’s Museum Association)


A segment of Uncategorised by Jessica Karlsson (Sound recording transcription of the visitors reacting to Uncategorised at her solo exhibition ‘Mellan rum’, 2015 at FRANK Gallery&Studios, Malmö). Uncategorised, a body of work that consists of bed sheets with the waterbased oil color ‘marks’ of love making of three couples of different sexual orientation, a sound recording of visitors’ reactions and a transcript, suggests that human beings all share a common humanity, regardless of our sexual orientation, skin color, age, etc. It also questions one’s readiness to read into and essentially determine people’s sexual preference based on something as ambiguous as the paint traces left by naked bodies.

Photo credit: Giulia Troisi


A selection of art publications presented by MONDO Books at Dalsbø Kiosken, a historical monument of Tromsø – the first ever kiosk in Northern Norway constructed in 1902.


Ecology of Fallen Leaves by Elly Stormer Vadseth (Video, 2017) in which the artist is nesting in a pile of hay, sheared grass and fallen leaves, explores the line between human and non-human nature, living and lifeless, vulnerability and the feeling of safety, both physical and emotional, and the feeling of wholeness with the Universe. The artist calls her video performance “queer rituals in the hopes of contributing to environmental healing processes.”

Photo credit: Giulia Troisi

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Anonymous by Andrii Dostliev (Edited digital prints, 2017-) is an ongoing project of collecting pictures of men from online dating platforms and manipulating them, oftentimes in an absurd way, to conceal men’s identities. The project invites the viewer to think about the self-curated representation of these strangers questioning the realness of the online world of gay dating, and also about the issues of gay visibility in present-day society.

_D754857.jpg A Tour of Queer Tromsø is a guided tour by fictitious professors created by Studioachtzehn, presenting illustrated “facts” about Norwegian history and making fun of cultural clichés, sexuality and gender roles, suggesting that anyone can design “history”, as well as present it from certain chosen angles and standpoints.

Photo credit: Giulia Troisi

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