About Generator

Traditionally, public art in Norway has been regarded as adornment, a decorative appendix to public buildings or places otherwise complete by the hand of the architect and the practical circumstances interferring with the realisation of his design. GENERATOR originates from the tension between two different artistic practises: traditional public art/adornment on the one hand - and the contemporary art-scene’s orientation towards strategies that deal with societal issues and involve the public to a greater extent on the other hand. Polarized in other words: art as an aesthetic object, and art as energy/impulse/action.

The realization of public art commissions is usually set in a procedure designed to satisfy a range of interests: the commissioner’s, the public’s, the architect’s and the artist’s. Traditionally, public art as adornment has adhered to new public buildings. This type of art is meant to instill the architect’s construction with fresh artistic qualities while relating to its architectonic frameset. There has also been a great deal of adornment of public places in which the art object is regarded as contributing to a stronger sense of identity, a “beautification” of parks, places and so on.

This type of adornment/art in public places, puts high demands on material, execution, durability and so on,- and the organization of such projects gives priority to certain modes of artistic thinking. All in all this means that the artist’s range of choices and the artistic possibilities are somewhat limited already from the start. The preconditions shape the result to a large extent.

Generator will attempt to challenge and expand the established practice of art in public spaces by focussing on certain fundamental aspects:
the qualities and possibilities inherent to temporary art projects
activating ‘the marginal zones of urbanity’: spaces and places not generally recognized as ‘representative’ or ‘central’, places with no predefined meaning
themes or artistic strategies that don’t fulfil traditional ‘art expectations’
greater artistic freedom
greater emphasis on encountering the public and communication of the artistic idea

Today, when artists increasingly place their works within the current debate of social affairs, and art, more often than a few years ago, relates to political, social and other public discussions, it’s important to develop organisation models and practices for art in public spaces that open up for such artistic ambitions. In order to enable art to play a role in society, it is necessary to take a chance on giving it more rope.

Generator will consist of a combination of three major art projects with invited artists (Nordic and international), and a number of (5 – 10) national projects selected from an open competition. We also plan for a cooperation with the Art Academy in Trondheim through the Academy’s study and research programme ‘Kunst i fellesskapets rom/Art in common space’.

Generator starts with an open seminar in which aspects of the project’s basis will be highlighted and discussed by artists, theorists and authorities from various fields. The three invited artists will participate in the seminar and receive a thorough introduction to the project and to Trondheim’s background, history and possibilities.

National artists will be invited to contribute project sketches/ideas. Suitable projects will be selected from this material to supplement the three invited artists’ and to expand the artistic work area.

The realization of the project is due in early summer 2007, prior to an international conference on art in public space arranged by the municipality of Trondheim and partners.


Generator will be documented in the following ways:

  • continiously updated web pages
  • feature and news articles in local and national media
  • documentary exhibition with photos, text and video
  • catalogue/book with photo documentation, texts by artists, critics, academics and other relevant contributors. Public debate around the project and relevant papers/entries from seminar will also be included in the material.