27 April 2011
Bridges are built quite often in Norway, but not so often bridges for bikes and pedestrians. A new bridge in Oslo is connecting two totally different areas, and this was made into a great cultural happening April 9th.
Grønland has been established as the multicultural area of Oslo, with mosques, halal food, curry and falafel. The relatively lower rent than in other parts of Oslo also make this an area filled with artists. This is the site of the first settlement of Oslo, but even if many houses are old, none are from that time.
On the other side of the inpassable barrier of railroad tracks for the central station is the new area Bjørvika. Bjørvika is still an area mostly existing only in plan maps. Many buildings are under construction, high, flashy buildings towering up, creating a wall of buildings between Grønland and the fjord. The polluting and noisy main road between the buildings and the sea will be put in an undersea tunnel, and this will probably become a very popular and expensive seafront. The gem of the area is the Opera and Ballet building by Snøhetta architects. At the moment it seems quite alone between the road and the sea, but this is about to change.
The bridge contain several symbolic values. It promotes walking and biking as means of transportation. It is a bridge between the historic and the future Oslo. It is a bridge between the rich and the poor Oslo.
During the opening a performance took place. Many couples were kissing on the bridge. The bridge is not only connecting areas, it is also connecting people.
Connected to the opening, open houses were arranged. This was a great possibility to visit galleries, ateliers and other cultural institutions in the area. I had a look at the following places:
A very nice artist owned gallery. The street front is a small two storey building, but the back side is a large concrete hall that used to be a wood storage.
A slick, tidy office corridor of the agriculture union turned into very comfortable studios with view to the railway and Bjørvika.
A space well hidden in a transport courtyard, in a door and up a step. They had a great installation of mini-flats where you could sit down to see video art. This seems like a very convenient and flexible space.
The name implies a venue in an old industrial building, but in fact this gallery/bookshop is situated in one of the first new buildings on the Bjørvika side. This is the first established point of visual art on this side of the railway. The gallery showed an exhibition of carpets and textile artwork.
A gigantic building used to store and maintain the vehicles of the harbour service. This offer room for large installations, but in fact the exhibition was small photos (10x15cm) attached to the walls.
This performance involved building some kind of bridge of plywood squares in the middle of the crowds at the Central Station.