A binding decision on the present from the future
Polar ice caps are melting, and China is coming closer than ever. In a few decades from now, ordinary merchant ships are supposed to be able to take a shortcut from China to Europe. Climate change is causing tremendous consequences which will fundamentally reshape our understanding of the North. What was once called the Far East or the Far North might turn out to be the very centre of global change and exchange.
The Kirkenes Charter is a document that consists of proposals, recommendations and commitments to the future development of Kirkenes and its population. The drafting process of the Kirkenes Charter takes place at a moment in time that is about 50 years from now. It speaks of today, but from a future point of view, as if our present would be already past.
Similar to the drafting process of charters in political bodies, such as summits of UN organisations, the Kirkenes Charter invites representatives from science, business, culture, politics, international and local stakeholders to publicly propose a contribution to the charter document. Instead of predicting an accurate scenario of the future, the goal of the gathering is to reverse-engineer our present time through commitments that are made from a future point of view. This means to imagine the contents of a meanwhile or meantime and ask the question: “Whatever could have happened for things to have come to this?”
The charter is pushing the conference format to its limit by creating an experimental platform to investigate, discuss, perform, simulate and enact possible futures of the North — accumulated in the border town of Kirkenes and intervening into its present time. It is an adventurous travel in time to open up, explore and propose different versions of a future of Kirkenes and its population: politically, economically, culturally, aesthetically, on collective and individual level.
Trondheim Academy of Fine Art
Pikene på Broen
The Norwegian Barents Secretariat