Where do our questions reach you?
I (Håvard Lund) opened your mail on the flight between Trondheim and Bodø (Norway), on my way to one of my many upcoming projects as a composer!
Can you tell us about yourself and the founding of the Arctic Hideaway?
I was born in the area where you find the archipelago FLEINVÆR (Norway), a group of islands situated south of famous islands of Lofoten and west of the airport in city BODØ. I didn’t come to these islands, though, until I was 28 years old. I immediately fell in love with this special scenery, where the islands of Lofoten filled my right eye, while my left was filled with the westbound eternity of the horizon, where the sun set in the sea – if it set at all! I saw that all my senses were sharpened here. Even my appetite got better. My eyes and my ears got stronger as well, and when this happened, clarity and speed appeared. I got so focused that I spent three days on the amount of work that, in town, would have taken me three weeks!
So in 2004 I bought the first estate, focusing on a cabin for me and my work. But life gave me more opportunities, and I wanted to share. So, after 10 years of planning and two years of building, we opened in 2016.
Our goal during the whole processes has been to build a place for people who create for other people, who work to open up and tear down boundaries, and for people who try to make a living out of arts. But of course, all people can benefit from the transforming experiences the arctic hideaway gives. If you want to focus on work or focus on nothing at all: please come, the small village does something to you!!
How important is the specific place of accommodation, the localisation in relation to the world and local nature?
It’s everything. I mean, the key is finding a good architecture that interacts with the nature and the existing culture. The nature doesn’t invite us to build accomodation for 100 people, so we have held the size down as much as possible. This way you can reach a level of perfect focus as quickly as possible!
Are there residents near the accommodation? If so, is there an exchange with them?
You find residents all over the north, but this is the best, with a clear architectural program made for this kind of process. We collaborate with the county of Nordland to make our programming.
When you read through the arrival and departure conditions on your website, you get the feeling that you are on an adventure trip where you are not sure when you will return. Does time play a special role for visitors of the Arctic Hideaway, besides the special place?
We want visitors to stay at least two nights, as this is not a bucket list place, but rather a meeting with a nature that does something to you, if you want it to or not. We also tell guests that if you have expensive flights, it is wise to book your return flight a day after your stay, so that you can go back to BODØ one day earlier. The weather can be unpredictable and you don’t want to lose the feeling of your stay! Hurricanes come at least two times each winter, which can prevent boats from getting people. But then again, the winter season is my favourite. If you dare, you will feel the wilderness in the weather, which will literally blows you away! Besides, winter offers AMAZINGLY colored skies due to lack of sun. Black isn’t black, dark is the new light ;-) Star skies that are impossible to explain. Northern lights…*
How did the idea of supplementing the accommodation with an artist-in-residence program come about and how is this program being received?
Price reduced artist stays are held in winter season. Most «common» people travel in warmer seasons. This works well.
The name suggests the program of your business – hideaway is seen in the hospitality industry as a hidden and secluded place, with only very few people. Is the idea that artists find inspiration in nothing and through nothing or what have previous residence participants taken away from their stay?
I would say, again perhaps, that the most positive thing happening here is the clear speed you gain in this place. It is the lack of cars, lack of shops, I mean. When have you last discovered this?
And do artists also leave something, like works of art, behind?
We say that artists who stay for free (5-6 artists each year) should try to put something into the local community. A speech, a presentation, something…We have also tried meetings with kids or with audiences from BODØ, but as the artist-in-residency is during into winter season, the weather can get too unstable for audiences to travel. In addition to the free stays, we offer price reduced stays for artists. We think that the stories left behind are as important as the work of the artists. The hideaway is a place where processes start, but isn’t necessarily where they end.
Currently, artists with an interest in environmental issues encouraged to apply. What is your approach to this topic?
This is a difficult one, as the place works best for people living in total stress, meaning big cities. As we don’t have big cities in Norway, we need to tell people from abroad to come. This is not very sexy for our image, but we need to think that visitors bring a piece of the arctic hideaway back home, and that the world in total still becomes a better place, even though people have to fly here…
What are the requirements for an artistic stay with you and how can artists apply?
To apply, send us a mail with short info about your work along with words about your mission.
Are there any ideas and wishes for the future of the Arctic Hideaway?
We are focussing on how to make a more holistic program around (1) the art of doing nothing and (2) simplicity at its finest. This means everything from getting here via row boat to sleeping in an outdoor sleeping zone, as they did during the fishing seasons in Lofoten over 100 years ago: outdoor under your boat…
We won’t have more than 10 beds, so it’s important to work hard with the PR so the right people from the world can come and explore themselves. The dilemma is how to make this a sustainable project. Of course, we have to fly people in from all over the world, but, as long as we see that our guests fly home with something fresh and new in their attitudes, we need to think that the world needs this little gem we have created out here. Meeting yourself is a luxury, the meeting with the pure and clean nature is the luxury – not just the golden taps or rare raw fish wrapped in even more rare wrapping ;-)
Interview by WAN