For me my stay at Messen represented my first trip to Norway. I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived in Alvik but soon found myself enjoying all the aspects of small town life in Norway.
When I came to Messen I thought it was important to try and gain access to the Bjølvefossen factory. Over one hundred years old, the factory is the reason Alvik exists and still employs many of the people here While I was warned it would be difficult to get inside I was lucky enough to meet a local employee to helped me with my project and I spent two days photographing inside.
I thought it was important to give a view inside this local institution to those who otherwise might never see what happens as they work their magic and turn rock and coal into metal.
I also began the process of doing interviews with current and former factory workers including 94-year-old Harald Vollestad who worked in the factory for 51 years. Having an opportunity to speak with him about his experiences was one of the highlights of my trip.
I hope to partner with the Industrial Museum here in Alvik and return to do more oral history interviews. Until then I will remember my time at Messen fondly.
Damaso Reyes USA, Nov-dec 2013
Damaso Reyes and Diane Sylvester from New York, where residencies at Kunstnarhuset Messen from the end of October until December 2013.
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