De Arktiske Festspillene

Festspillene i Nord-Norge har gått i seg selv. Etter 51 gjennomførte festivaler og 20 år som knutepunkt var det på høy tid. Hvem er vi? Og hva skal vi være? 25 millioner kulturkroner er fryktelig mange penger. Penger som forplikter tungt. For meg var svaret åpenbart. Festspillene må og skal være for nord.

Vår makt og posisjon fordrer større ambisjoner enn 8 dager festival noen livlige sommerdager i byen ved Vågsfjorden. Vi må strekke oss lenger og jobbe systematisk for å stimulere, profilere og inspirere både publikum og kulturbransje i landsdelen. Først i Norge og på sikt i hele det sirkumpolare nord. Bare slik kan vi bli de Arktiske Festspillene, som med slagkraft kan hevde kunstens plass i utviklingen av nord.

Festspillenes program i 2016 forsøker å reflektere noe av krafta og kvaliteten i landsdelens kulturliv.

Vi har for lenge forestilt oss at kvalitet er noe som kommer fra utlandet. Oppfunnet og dyrka i London, New York og Roma. Det er jo selvsagt ikke slik. Kvalitet er ikke en entydig og ubevegelig størrelse oppfunnet på kontinentet, kontrollert og godkjent innenfor Ring 3.

Jeg higer ikke etter å lage verdens beste kunstfestival. Spekka med kritikerroste internasjonale kunstnere, hyllet av nasjonal kunstpresse og smakselite. Det kappløpet ville jeg fort tape. Festspilldirektør Anders Beyer har mye mer penger å rutte med i Bergen. Men jeg vil kjempe for å lage verdens viktigste kunstfestival for nord. Og det er noe ganske annet, om enn ikke mindre viktig eller kvalitetsrikt.

Samtidig skal vi ikke glemme at å inspirere også handler om å hente inn nye tanker og perspektiver fra verden der ute. Slik kan vi bli bedre og strekke oss lenger. De viktige teaterkompaniene Gob Squad (England/Tyskland) og Kamchatcka (Spania) er eksempler på nettopp dette. Internasjonalt nyskapende og tematisk utfordrende. Til inspirasjon. Men slett ikke beviset på Festspillenes relevans og posisjon som kunstfestival. Det kan man derimot si om prosjektet LAPP AFFAIR – UNFINISHED BUSINESS, der Sofia Jannok, Mari Boine og Elle Márjá Eira møter kunstnerne Anders Sunna og Maret Anne Sara til strid på vår største scene. De fremste og mest dagsaktuelle samiske artistene og kunstnerne samla på samme brett. Det er sterke saker. Og det kommer til å sette spor. Det gjør også tidenes siste ArtLab i regi av Hålogaland Teater og RadArt. 22. juli har blitt et tabu i kunsten og i siste laboratorietime samles 22 personer til lesning og samtale om tragedien som endra oss. Spor vil også Kråkesølvs bestillingsverk Kjetterbålet sette. Aldri har jeg opplevd heksebrenningshistorien fortalt med større klokskap og poesi. På scenen i Harstad har de med seg Arktisk Sinfonietta og State Academic Choir Petrozavodsk.

Stat & Ekstase er en annen av årets nyskapninger. Produksjonen der Amund Sjølie Sveen, Lawrence Malstaff, Liv Hanne Haugen og Jon Tombre møtes til undersøkelse av den moderne kollektive ekstase, hva nå enn det måtte bety. At det utforsker og pusher grenser er i allefall sikkert. Det samme vil nok den nordnorske hiphop-eliten gjøre siste lørdag i festpilluka. Kuratert og produsert av grand old Poppa-Lars, stiller de opp alle som én. Joddski, Klish, RSP og SlinCraze, med DJs og gjester. Nordnorsk hiphop har alltid vært i særklasse. Frittalende, presis og tight. Denne kvelden blir intet unntak.

Nyskapning og nye samarbeid har vært vår viktigste ledetråd i sammensetningen av årets program. Skal vi ta vårt ansvar på alvor må vi tilrettelegge for utforskning og nye tanker. Vi skal ta sjanser – og gi sjanser til de som vil pushe grenser og tenke nytt. Derfor er det også viktig at festspillene bruker 1,3 millioner i året på tilskudd til nye kunstprosjekter i nord og til nordlige turneprosjekter. 300 000 kroner til  to unge kunstnere hvert år, har gjennom tidene vært starten på betydelige kunstnerkarrierer. Nina Wester, Amund Sjølie Sveen, Maja Bugge, Hekla Stålstrenga og Jenny Svensson er noen av mange eksempler. Jeg håper at både ungkunststipendet og vårt nye turneprosjekttilskudd på 1 million vil ha samme effekt over de neste årene. Bidra til at unge artister og kunstnere får rom til å satse og ryggdekning til å tenker stort.

I årene som kommer skal Festspillene satse mot det internasjonale Arktis. Samtidig som vi skal fortsette å stimulere prosjekter i vår egen landsdel, skal vi invitere til samarbeid på tvers av nord. Norge må ta en ledende rolle i forhold til å bygge nettverk og arenaer for den arktiske kunst- og kulturbransjen.

Vår del av verden er inne i en viktig brytningstid der internasjonale interesser og lokale behov står ansikt til ansikt. Framtidsbildet er lyst, men for ofte kan det nordlige mennesket kun skimtes som en silhuett i det fjerne. På råvarefest handler talen om det håndfaste. Fisken i fjorden, mineralene i fjellet og oljen i havet. Titonns-syken ble det kalt i Finnmark. Det å tro at noe har verdi kun hvis det veier mer enn ti tonn. Men det er ikke ressursene og den storslåtte naturen som gjør nord unikt. Det er menneskene. Og ingenting representerer mennesket slik kunsten gjør.

Den veier ingenting, men har likevel aldri vært viktigere i nord.

 

(Toppfoto: Kjetterbålet med Kråkesølv er årets åpningsforestilling på Festspillene i Nord-Norge. Illustrasjon fra forestillingen av Martin Losvik.)

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