Our Team

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Camilla Renate Nicolaisen

– What is your background (education/occupation)?

I did my master’s in Contemporary Art at the Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art. Before that I did my BA in Ceramics. Currently I hold my studio-fort at Kysten Troms Fylkeskultursenter working as an artist, but I survive financially from working as a culture school teacher.

– What is your relationship to art?

I wanted to become an artist, I became an artist, and now supposedly am an artist.

With art I am able to point out the important parts of existence and use visual tools to try to make other humans see what I see. In my art practice I put energy into thematics that I feel needs to be given extra care, or lifted forward, in our society.

– What inspired you to create ‘Open Out’?

I’ve always been in spaces but have never created spaces, so I wanted to try that too.  

– What does ‘queer’ mean to you?

‘In between’, ‘not possible to define by dichotomies’, ‘on the borders’, ‘shifting’, ‘real’.

– What is your favourite thing about Tromsø?

Seagulls and crows in my neighbourhood. The home feeling. The harbour smelling like my childhood; skipping school and walking on the harbour by the shipyard and metalworkers. Breathing the toxic gas waste of heavy chemicals that they use on the boats. I always believed it to be the sea breeze. But living next to the shipyard (now closed down) in Tromsø city centre I came to realise: ‘Ah… that’s what it was.’

– What is something that instantly makes you happy?

Caffè mocha and cringey performances (instant uncomfortable smile; it’s like carousels – not pleasant but you enjoy it).

– If you were reincarnated in an animal or a plant, which one would it be?

A crow…with no hesitation.

– If you were a dessert, what would you be?

Liquorice ice cream or a giant bowl of freshly picked blueberries floating in milk.

 

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Marion Bouvier

– What is your background (education/occupation)?

I have a master’s degree in International Security, as I thought I wanted to be a diplomat. Then I got disenchanted with political systems and politicians, and I turned to my other lifelong passion: writing. I’m now working as a freelance writer, editor and curator. I’m also editor-in-chief of NorK Magazine, which is published in Tromsø.

– What is your relationship to art?

Art is the most essential thing in life with love, I think. It’s about expressing our individual human natures as well as reaching the universal. I started reading a lot of books as soon as I learnt reading, age 6, and then going to art museums, and it transformed me. It made me realize there are so many ways to be human, so many emotions and stories and psychological aspects to the human experience. And at the same time it goes back to that universal thing, we all have desires, fears, hopes, moments of joy and of sadness. Art is like a space travel through life.

– What inspired you to create ‘Open Out’?

Two things:

Firstly, I love art and I always want to see more artistic events. There are lots of very interesting art things happening in Tromsø, but I felt there is a lack of a full-on festival centered on contemporary visual arts. And also, talking with the other organizers we all felt that art events usually draw a similar crowd, and that it would be great to do something that goes outside the usual spaces where art is shown, so that we invite different audiences to enjoy art.

Secondly, I wanted to have a festival focused on being queer because I quickly realized that although Norway is very socially progressive and is generally open and welcoming for LGBTQ people, there is still a definite lack of visibility. I think that’s also linked to the fact that Norwegian people don’t really like PDAs, so people keep their relationships quite private. But I was strange to notice that I would see a lot of straight couples holding hands in the streets, but rarely a same-sex couple. There is also a lot of heteronormativity in everyday life. So I wanted to create a festival in which everyone expresses who they are in a safe environment.

– What does ‘queer’ mean to you?

I usually refer to myself as lesbian first, because it was difficult when I was a teenager to accept that label, and then once I came out it felt liberating to use it. It was freeing to have a label so that I didn’t have to apologize for not being interested in men, and because it reflects an aspect of my life experience, which is that I don’t feel at home in a heteronormative and patriarchal societies. But now I also like to use the word queer. I like that it is very inclusive of different gender expressions, identities, sexual orientations… I like that it’s political, and that it reclaims the idea that being ‘strange’ or ‘weird’ is just a subjective view from the dominant social group. Because when queer was used as a slur, society was trying to say that non-hetero folks were deviants and that it should be regarded as ‘weird’, something that you shouldn’t want to be and that you should be ashamed of. Now when I use the word ‘queer’, I feel it’s a way to say: ‘Being different is beautiful too! Diversity is a real wealth for our societies, it’s nothing to be afraid of.’

– What is your favourite thing about Tromsø?

The midnight sun! Every summer I’m amazed when spring comes and the sun sets later and later, until it doesn’t set at all. The feeling of those endless summer nights, the crisp air and bright skies in the middle of the night in June and July, the incredible sunsets of August and September, I’m in love with it all.

And Nature. Nature is amazing everywhere but in Tromsø it’s especially peaceful and comforting to me.

And last but not least, the people of Tromsø (and Northern Norwegians in general), because they’re so kind and helpful.

– What is something that instantly makes you happy?

Meeting a cat and imagining to be one. Petting a puppy. Being in the forest. Skiing. Seeing someone I love after some time apart (cheesy but true).

– If you were reincarnated in an animal or a plant, which one would it be?

A cat, but also a bird such as a seagull or an eagle to be able to fly, also a flying squirrel to combine living in trees and flying, also the grasshopper mouse because it just goes out in the desert in the night and HOWLS (!!!) to warn other animals she’s out and about (if you haven’t seen the grasshopper mouse howling, do yourself the favour).

Also I’d love to be a tree, maybe birch.

– If you were a dessert, what would you be?

An ile flottante. It’s this traditional french dessert in which a fluffy poached egg white is floating on vanilla sauce, and is topped with caramel. The mix of textures are amazing, it’s light and consistent, and it reminds me of having lunch at my grandma’s place.

 

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Siri Mari Vitalis Larsen

– What is your background (education/occupation)?

I just finished my bachelor’s degree one week ago (early May 2018). So right now I am unemployed. But I am happy in life. Before my BA I studied new dance in Oslo. This year I am taking a break from studies to work as an artist, based in Tromsø. Hopefully.

– What is your relationship to art?

It’s the last thing I think of when I go to bed and the first thing on my news feed on Facebook every morning. It’s everywhere and anytime. For me it’s hard to draw a line where art stops and begins. So it’s with me under my skin lurking as herpes. Suddenly it explodes in my mind and emotions.

– What inspired you to create ‘Open Out’?

Working with inspiring people. To be part of creating a new platform from the beginning. Doing work that is feminist and political, with a thematic that stimulates curiosity and my desire to learn something new. And to meet people, meet the audience in places where they usually don’t go.

– What does ‘queer’ mean to you?

‘People’, ‘space’, ‘love’, ‘open-minded’, ‘curious’, ‘awareness’, ‘equality’.

– What is your favourite thing about Tromsø?

Nature.

– What is something that instantly makes you happy?

Midnight sun and ice cream. Smell of the ocean after a nachspiel [afterparty].

– If you were reincarnated in an animal or a plant, which one would it be?

A dog. So I can talk to my two dogs Bobbi and Mie. I love them so much!

– If you were a dessert, what would you be?

Lollipop and Hubba Bubba.

 

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Kristina

– What is your background (education/occupation)?

I did culture studies and later ethnographic filmmaking ­­ – which is what led me to live in Tromsø for 2 years. I am freelancing right now, but I would love to be involved in the field of art and culture professionally.

– What is your relationship to art?

Visual art is something I have always been drawn to. It has always been a part of human cultures, and it’s where all languages came from. In my opinion, it’s the most instinctive form of communication. Art can be extremely powerful because it speaks directly to our senses, not just our mind.

– What inspired you to create ‘Open Out’?

I think that Open Out really came from the desire to have one more opportunity to enjoy art events in Tromsø for an extended period of time, as well as to bring visibility to all kinds of different artists. Also to challenge stereotypes – before coming to Tromsø, for example, I had no idea that there are so many cool festivals happening so far up north! There is a continuous cultural exchange happening here – I really enjoyed that fact as a student, and now I am happy to be able to work on establishing this exchange myself!

– What does ‘queer’ mean to you?

To me, queer means ‘non-normative’. As a young woman I tried to fit into boxes that society created, but I’ve never felt comfortable in any one of them. Now I realize that one doesn’t have to fit into anything that was created as a ‘standard’ by somebody else. Anyone can create and defy these ideas.

– What is your favourite thing about Tromsø?

I love that people are generally really friendly and are very supportive of each other.

– What is something that instantly makes you happy?

Walking barefoot on the grass and bathing in sunlight.

– If you were reincarnated in an animal or a plant, which one would it be?

That’s a tough one, but I’m going to go with white-spotted jellyfish, to completely switch my human set of senses to an unfamiliar one for the next lifetime.

– If you were a dessert, what would you be?

Probably cherry sorbet.