Celebrating the Extraterrestrial at the Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art

Celebrating the Extraterrestrial at the Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art

The art world goes sci-fi.

The art world goes sci-fi.

Text: Nadja Sayej

It’s no longer just the science fiction geeks—everyone is obsessed with aliens, flying cars, and the future (yes, even the art world). It’s no surprise, then, the latest edition of MOMENTUM9, the Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art is themed around extraterrestrials. So if you were bored by Documenta, take a ride up to the small milling town of Moss, just an hour’s drive from Oslo, where the imagination takes over. The artists here envision a time when aliens are a part of our everyday lives through technology in this new exhibition featuring 30 artists in eight venues across the region.

This weekend, the biennial opened with alien-themed artworks, including Pinar Yoldas’s "Ecosystem of Excess," which looks at how the ocean’s life forms will look due to pollution, and Jone Kvie's "Spaceman," which calls to mind Daft Punk, thanks to his NASA-esque headpiece.

H.R. Giger, the Swiss mastermind who created the creepy creatures for the Alien films, shows a pair of silver thrones, which are decked out in skulls and snake-like spines alongside a set of chairs that were once in the Giger Bar in Tokyo in the 1990s. When Queen Sonja of Norway was on a guided tour of the exhibition this Saturday, she gave them an odd look.

One key highlight was the Sporulating Paragraph by Finnish artist Jenna Sutela, a wall work made of greenery, which the artist describes as “living graffiti” in the hallway of the Moss Kunsthall. It’s inspired by a book by American science fiction author Jeff VanderMeer.

The Third Ear collective created a podcast which combines moody soundscapes with interviews from science and technology experts who ask “how we can leave digital messages for people living 1,000 years in the future?” They also ask, that if we could create audio time capsules, “what would we tell the future?”

Trollkrem, a Norwegian art collective, set up a shore side performance art piece that involved glittery garments designed by Oslo fashion designer Anne Karine Thorbjørnsexn, D.I.Y. cocktails and a mermaid creature walking into the sea. All in all, they consider their artworks to be a parallel universe—right on this very earth. It seems we might not need space travel, after all.

Jenna Sutela’s Let’s Play: Life, a floor installation with audio


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