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1.JULY 2023 — 25. AUGUST 2023

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Photoloop Rodrigo Ghattas Perez


The industrial world heritage in Rjukan-Notodden really began with the arts. In the romantic era, artists hiked out of the Norwegian capital Christiania, searching for the sublime in nature. On well-worn paths, painters went up the Vestfjorddalen Valley, arriving at a narrow gap where streams of water coalesced and thundered down from the Hardangervidda plateau. And so, Rjukanfossen gained its fame. Mistakenly assumed, in a 1810 report to the King in Copenhagen, to be the highest waterfall in the world. Sought out by poets and painters from all over Europe. And eventually tamed by industry, to create the world’s first synthetic fertilizer and the most advanced hydropower plant that was ever built, the brainchild of brilliant physicist Kristian Birkeland and visionary businessman & engineer Sam Eyde. The rest is very well documented history. Today, the sublime is not necessarily sought in some distant, unknown land or by making hazardous expeditions like the adventurers of old. No, we have already done that and we are continuously doing so, you and me. Normal people (in the west) are more or less free to travel and do amazing things at this point in time. But what then is the new frontier? Well, it seems clear to more and more of us that the most important adventure of our times is to find out how we may preserve the sublime that we have already discovered. In the challenges interconnected with maneuvering human society at large, towards the somewhat unclear notions of "sustainable transition" - dealing with the unintended consequences of modern, industrial normality as we know it, with all the various IPCC climate reports showing us the very disturbing scenarios that are looming on our collective horizon. And the transitions should even be just, for everyone involved. The SOLARPUNK CAMPUS RJUKAN – is a pilot initiative aiming to once again build infrastructure for artists & thinkers to wander up through the Vestfjorddalen valley, not only to behold the dramatic landscape and industrial heritage, but to visualize and create new patterns of thought that may activate the highly charged topography once again, through questions such as: What could/should human society look like after sustainable transitions? What could/should human infrastructure look like after sustainable transitions? What could/should the global biosphere look like after sustainable transitions? In whose backyard should energy be produced? And how much energy do we really need?

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