As you stroll along the Bjørvika shoreline from the Oslo Sentral Station towards Vippetangen Port, you will find yourself walking under a gigantic fish rack. SALT is a nomadic art project currently situated on Oslo’s shoreline, overlooking the city’s famous Opera House.
SALT comprises several spectacular wooden constructions. The largest construction, the 70-meter-long Arctic Pyramid towering like an cathedral over the seaside promenade.
The art project SALT comes from the North, from the coastal Arctic landscape where people, for thousands of years, have lived in harmony with a harsh climate and fickle weather. The Arctic peoples have traditionally been nomadic. They have followed the seasons’ rhythm and animal migration routes. They have sailed with the wind and followed the ocean currents. They have left behind cautious footprints.
The pyramid-shaped fish rack (hesjen in Norwegian) is a monument to this way of life. For hundreds of years it has been a symbol for the northern coastline. Fish were dried on the rack, then prepared for export. The construction thus enabled new connections with other parts of the world. Dried fish was a very durable and sought after commodity, and its trade generated great wealth.
The ocean has given us as Norwegians the resources for building our country and welfare state. Future generations will also need to use these resources. Today we recognise that the ocean’s wealth is increasingly important for Norwegian society, but that public interest in and knowledge about the ocean and coastal industries is low.
This is a matter of great concern and should be taken seriously. We know little about the consequences of climate change and the effects of environmental pollutants on the Norwegian coast. What we do know, however, is that if we are to reach climate mitigation goals and perpetuate a sustainable management of the ocean’s resources, we must change our view of the ocean and the way we relate to it.
SALT Oslo will draw attention to these challenges.