Residence Bergen at USF Verftet by Rona Rangsch

Residence Bergen at USF Verftet by Rona Rangsch

Three days ago I arrived in Bergen, Norway. I am AiR for three months at USF Verftet, a former sardine factory in the harbour and my studio has an awsome view over the bay.

Bergen is located at the same latitude as the Shetland Islands, North of Scotland! So I was afraid I wouldn’t see much daylight over here. Moreover, the climate is very wet and moderate even in winter – which means a lot of rain. While it is true that it is raining almost every day – except that today: we had a wonderful sunny day without a single drop – the showers usually do not last very long. So when you go out you take an umbrella or wear a hooded jacket and when the shower comes, there’s always realistic hope that it will pass soon again. And from some point onwards the days will be longer here than they are in Germany.

The organization of this residency is really professional: When I arrived after office hours the responsible for the AiR program came to town again to hand out the keys and show me around. A local sim card for my cell phone is provided, so I can buy local prepaid cards and call at local rates. Besides the studio there is a small, fully equipped apartment in a former boat house next door. And last but not least: Everybody from the Kulturhuset USF team is really friendly and accommodating.

The Bergen art community is a vivid one and not too big for seeing known faces and having common friends with friends already after a short period. Friday is the day for openings. As opposed to Germany, an opening isn’t meant to be an event for the entire evening, not even for the crowd of the respective space/gallery itself. Communication is obviously good as Friday schedules are visitor friendly: You can do 4 openings on one evening, at 18, 19, 20 and 21h. What you see is not only a wide range of artistic expression – national and international – but also a large variety of spaces: from tiny to huge gallery spaces, from stucco or barroque-like interiors to trashy former warehouse halls and hangars.

There wasn’t a proposal required in the call for applications (the organization has changed their application criteria since then). So, I have the chance to just come here and see what will cross my way and catch my interest. But I have set up some formal framework already in advance: I will realize some sort of real-space residency blog in collaboration with a local artist initiative – ProveRommet. Every second Monday they organize an event evening at a different location around town with all kinds of artistic contributions: dance, theatre, performance, music, visual/media art etc. Starting from January 30th, I will participate in every single of these events during the residency (which are 5) to present a sort of collection or collage of impressions, influences and work in progress that will develop and accumulate from event to event. I call it p.log – a blend from ProveRommet log… More information on dates and venues of p.log can be found on my website: www.rangsch.de