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CoSA - Concerning the Spiritual in Art (2017)

In 2017 CoSA started out as a collaboration between the artists Inger-Reidun Olsen and Marianne Skjeldal (LATERNA) and Thale Fastvold and Tanja Thorjussen (LOCUS). Through our various artistic practices in performance art, dance, photography and drawing, LATERNA and LOCUS were collaborating throughout 2017 in exploring the spiritual in contemporary art as well as researching the spiritual in art that unfolded 100 years ago in Europe. Through our collaboration we wanted to merge performative- and visual arts traditions and to share knowledge and experience from each other's practices.

​In the early 1900s Wassily Kandinskys’ publication “Concerning the spiritual in art” (1911) was published and many other artists such as Hilma af Klint and Emma Kunz, was influenced by spiritism, séances and alternative lifestyles, among others vegetarianism. In the last years we have seen a return of the spiritual expressed in contemporary art, especially in connection to ecological and environmental thinking, renewed focus on indigenous knowledge and our relationship to nature.

CoSA 2017 aimed to channel and interpret the spirit of places (Genius Loci) into our artworks. By travelling to and exploring sites with spiritual reference or history, meeting with people and nature in these places, we recreated lost rituals and created new artworks. 

​Our first journey together took us on a research trip to Monte Veritá in Switzerland, followed by our project initiation in Athens during Documenta 14 opening week (April 2017) in collaboration with The Norwegian Institute at Athens, with performance and book launch. Our next event took place at summer solstice at Áhkánjárstábba/Stalloen, in Kvalsund, Hammerfest, in Norway, followed by a performance and exhibition at the museum of St. Petersburg Avantgarde in St. Petersburg, and another performance-event during Dansefestival Barents in Hammerfest in November. LOCUS pulled out of the collaboration in spring 2018, as the project was awarded funding for another 3 years, due to the workload and engagement that this timespan would demand.

Planting Seeds

2017 was a lot about ‘planting seeds’ and initiating collaborations. Little did we know that many of these would become long lasting. Much of the methodological work in CoSA can be traced back to LATERNA´s collaboration even before the CoSA-project; an interest in inner work and meditation as a form of deeper listening, stemming from a philosophy and belief in that inner politics become outer politics - and action. We shared a wish to acknowledge inner imagery and felt sense/intuition experienced through meditations, and to use this as tools in our art practice and creation, as well as in dialogue and community with place and others. A question we had all this time, and still ask, is; Can we, by making art, tune in and connect to places, people and more-than-human life forms and achieve a condition of connection, conversation, community and togetherness?

To see all events in 2017 scroll further down!

The project is supported by Arts Council Norway, Fond for lyd og bilde and The Norwegian Institute at Athens. 

Activites in CoSA 2017:

I.     Fossum, Oslo (NO). February 25th. Research.


II.    Monte Verità, (CH) April 3rd.-5th. Research.


III.   The Norwegian Institute at Athens (GR). April 6th. Performative event, book launch, artist talk. 


IV.   Hill of the Muses, Athens (GR). April 10th. Performance


V.    Áhkánjárstábba, Kvalsund (NO). Performance. June 21st at summer solstice.


VI.   Museum of the St. Petersburg Avantgarde St. Petersburg, (RU). Performance. 8. Oktober


VII.  Re-visiting Áhkánjárstábba, Kvalsund/Hammerfest (NO).  Two performances at DanseFestival Barents November 10th and 11th.


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