Me on russian news!

May 11, 2010


In my exploration of life in Nikel I have meet many different attitudes about the what will become of Nikel. I therefore found it interesting to make a workshop with the kids at the artschool no.1, and with the help and interest from Marina I managed to do this.
How would the kids respond to task of making the future of Nikel?
By giving the kids room to be creative I would like to see their response, and their reflections on their town.

The workshop was held wednesday 21.04

The first task I gave then was to make a “mental” map of their town Nikel. They could value things like they wanted, it should not be a “correct” map.

The second task was given after both two groups had worked for a little while with the maps of what seemed to be very “correct” maps of the centre of Nikel, and with the existing program. In task nr two I challenged them to fill in and “change” the program of NIkel – to make it like they wanted their town.

The kids obviously found this task very exiting and was very enthusiastic. Soon new towns of Nikel was litteraly popping up as the children also started making houses from folded paper. This they found out them self was a good idea.

After two hours of workshop the town of Nikel had been “changed” from factory town to a service town and a town of tourism – were everybody apparently loved shopping… and the factory they said would exist, but they would like to move it underground..

What was very interesting was to try find their reasoning for their new towns, as some of their programming can be said would be added by any child in any town.
Some of the interesting suggestions from the children was:
– Moving a part of Kandalaksha to Nikel..
– Moving The government of Russia, the Eiffeltower, the statue of liberty and Akropolis to Nikel…
– Placing the Leninstatue inside a fancy icon building….
– Making a BIG and beautiful kindergarden…
– Placing factory underground…
– Building a lot of sky scrapers in Nikel…
– Making a museum of all the people and cultures of the world…

As of my impression of their joy and fantasies also shows some of their reflections of what they have – nature, buildings, social, location, etc..
The kids was 10-12 years.

The teachers was also thinking this was very fun, and we will continue this workshop wednesday 28.04.

This is just a short report, a full report from these workshops will be made.

Denis and Grigory took me on a little bicycletrip. It was very nice, but very cold. Even thought there is not so much snow left in Nikel +2 is not yet spring time and bicycle weather…..

1st model work

March 26, 2010

Work in progress…

March 26, 2010

mapping and analysing

March 22, 2010

The topic of the biennale shows the present issues to be dealt with in Russian urbanism and architecture, topics I will address in my project.

I am attending the biennale between 29th may-05th june. Give me a note if you want to join me.

Liminal flux

March 22, 2010

The situation in Nikel is not necessarily unique, but the closeness to Norway makes the difference so very obvious. The towns position as liminal to its own future, yet reluctant or powerless to change its path, leaves its inhabitants in a flux between flight or surrender in a struggle for the city to reproduce the story of itself and its identity as a company town.
Yet there is no certainty this is neither the wrong nor the right way to see the situation. As strangers, again, this is interpreted with a background that differs from what might be the background of the inhabitants of Nikel.

Is the story reproduced? Is there a local initiative for a future – which kind of future? Which kind of initiative?

Somebody’s hometown.

March 22, 2010

Everyplace is someone’s hometown – what constitutes this? Even every horrible place leaves people emotional to what it is, what it has been, or have become, and a somewhat aspiration for its future.
Some abandon their hometown for better possibilities, but some don’t. How come these don’t? What is the profound feelings steering their belonging? Or what are the possibilities for prosperity, hidden from the bare eyes of a stranger?
Or is it merely an acceptance of the prevailing situation.

What is then the identity and sense of belonging in the situation of Nikel? How is it expressed? What qualities are expressed?

Can this make a foundation for a future for the town of Nikel and its inhabitants?

Poignant differences

March 22, 2010

This Russian town so close to the Norwegian border but yet so very different. How is it to live in this town? How do they define themselves, their town and their identity? In which way do they feel a sense of belonging to their place and how is it articulated? Most of us ground our self and our background in an identity, and the term of identity in some way or the other refers to a place of belonging.

We are strangers in this situation in Nikel, our perception of the place is not valid in the same way.
Our perception is coloured by the many news flashes from this city, the pollution, the dead nature and the inevitable misery of the people living there. The people living under these conditions are more than often presented in generalised and anonymised terms subsumed to their own reality.
However the situation, people still live in Nikel and their perception of their place is different.