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02 September 2021

House of Commons

Momentum 11: the nordic biennial Moss (Norway)

The eleventh edition of the nordic biennial MOMENTUM, entitled House of Commons, initially delayed by a breakdown in the relationship between the biennale and its curator, Théo-Mario Coppola, has been opened since end of June.

After cross accusations, open letter, artists withdrawn —not many to be honest— and other crusades, the biennial hopes that the public will grant it indulgence and a new opportunity in the hope that it will be visited until it closes on 10 October.

House of Commons, emphasises on “togetherness” and “horizontality”, in the need for a paradigm shift to change the structures of domination —both historical and contemporary— resulting from all the dystopias of modern society: capitalism, colonialism, racism, patriarchy and gender norms.

The selection of film, photography, sculpture, performance and installations encompass a range of cultural backgrounds by artist-practitioners from both the local region and further afield. Their work is located in the city of Moss, in Galleri F 15 at Alby gård, and via a circuit that connects several temporary art installations along the island of Jeløya, a protected nature reserve.

Artists participating are: Pia Arke, Augusto de Campos, Nina Canell, Chto Delat, Goutam Ghosh, Camilo Godoy, Renée Green, Siri Hermansen, Délio Jasse, Daisuke Kosugi, Kollektivnye Deystviya, Maria Nordman, Maria Noujaim, Uriel Orlow, Frida Orupabo, Hannah Ryggen, S-AR, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, and Trinh T. Minh-ha. Works by Karol Radziszewski and Marinella Senatore were removed. Apparatus 22 did not participate, Paul B. Preciado withdrew due to health reasons, and a work by Núria Güell could not be produced as planned due to the pandemic.


Highlights are the three striking wooden pavilions: Platform Pavilion, Stairs Pavilion, and Cylinder Pavilion by Mexican architectural practice S-AR to house projects and performances, and Filipino artist Cian Dayrit’s Tree of Life in the state of decay and rebirth —in our cover photo—, an embroidery on textile work that seeks to communicate the roots and fruits of systemic historical oppression.

Charlemagne Palestine also performed a musical piece on the ferry from Moss to Jeløya to which we had the pleasure to assist. And Marianne Haske activates at present the Cilyndric Pavilion with her nameshaked work House of Commons, truly based on the houses of the common people …  common people as the Pulp song goes.  In 2015 Heske (mis)placed a workers house to stand directly across from the Stortingsbygningen, creating a dialogue between the common citizens who once occupied the house and those in positions of power in Parliament.

Without wishing to add fuel to the fire, it seems that the figure of the curator is becoming more and more diluted, has less and less impact and, if that were not enough, serves as a scapegoat for any problem. On the other hand, the concept of the exhibition, House of Commons, proposed by the deceased curator, collapses with the attitude and snobbery of those who treat with disdain and accuse instead of integrating those —meaning absolutely everyone— who make an exhibition possible.

(Cover image: Cian Dayrit, Tree of Life in the state of decay and rebirth (2019). Photo: Eivind Lauritzen)

María Muñoz is a cultural worker and educator trained in Art History and Telecommunications Engineering, this hybridity is part of her nature. She has taught “Art History of the first half of the 20th century” at ESDI and currently teaches the subject “Art in the global context” in the Master of Cultural Management IL3 at the University of Barcelona. In addition, while living between Berlin and Barcelona, he is a regular contributor to different media, writing about art and culture and emphasising the confluence between art, society/politics and technology. He is passionate about the moving image, electronically generated music and digital media.

Portrait: Sebastian Busse 

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