Guide: Art at Roskilde Festival, with curator Mette Woller

YOUNG-BOY-DANCING-GROUP-36-1024x683With Documenta 14 in both Athens and Kassel, Skulptur Projekte Münster and the 57th Venice Biennale, the art world forces you to plan a tight schedule this summer. This week is no exception as it marks the opening of the 46th Roskilde Festival that, true to faith,presents an ambitious line up in every field. The art scene also launches an impressive programme, with artists like Princess Nokia, Aiko and Madame Gandhi, and offers no break from your already obsessively hectic summer of art. In the following, head curator for Roskilde festivals Art Zone, Mette Woller, answers our questions and prepares us for the art programme and not least KlubRÅ, an interdisciplinary project that fuses art and music in a new and alternative interpretation of the club space.

Can you tell us about this year’s curatorial focus?
Roskilde Festival is working with a three year overall focus on equality. Last year’s theme was political equality, this year is centred around cultural equality, and next year will focus on economical equality. At the art scene, this year’s curatorial subject is Human/Non-human. Within our examinations of cultural relations, we also question the relationship between different species – humans, plants and animals. It feels important to underline that we do not wish to politicise art. But cultural equality is a highly emergent and important issue in society. Discussions of human conditions are obviously always relevant, however, it seems that things have changed to a point where walls are being built, where discriminating agendas and discriminating rhetorics have increased. It is crucial to pay attention to the ways humans act towards other humans and the world around us. The invited artists all shed light on these themes and issues from different, interesting angles. We have also worked with cultural equality in the curatorial structure, especially with a focus on gender representation. As a curator, you have a responsibility for the representation of gender in the art world, and to support a diversity of artists in general. This doesn’t mean that our choices are based only on gender, which can be just as problematic. It simply means that you have to pay attention to it. Many of the invited artists work collectively and in groups. For example Princess Nokia, who is a part of Smart Girls Club.

KlubRÅ is said to provide the audiences with a “club experience”. What do you mean by that? And why is the concept of the club important? KlubRÅ is not a club in classical terms, as in a place where you just come to go clubbing. KlubRÅ turns everything upside down: concert formats, the fusion between art and music and the idea of what clubbing is and can be. But it is also about being a part of a club. About the community that the festival is built around, which helps us explore new places together. KlubRÅ is a club in several ways. It resembles a youth club, but it is also a VIP-ish “you snooze you loose” kind of place. Most importantly, we create a foundation for new communities which we hope will take the festival goers to new places.

Why visit Art Zone? What can the festival space do for the art compared to other, more regular exhibition spaces?
We usually describe Art Zone as the festival’s epicentre of art. This year Art Zone is built as an oasis. The oasis differs from its surroundings through its vegetation and we have aimed to make Art Zone a place that is both physical, mentally and aesthetically different from the rest of the festival area. We offer a space for reflection that sets a different agenda than the rest of the festival does. What is really unique about Roskilde Festival is all the interdisciplinary projects. As far as I’m concerned, no other festival combines and integrates music, art and debate the way that we do. We work with contemporary constructions to a greater extent than regular museums. When starting out at Roskilde Festival, the space is completely empty, a meadow. We don’t have an institutional room to lean on or to comment. One can say that our space is the diametrical opposition of the white cube. But maybe most importantly the audience here is very distinct and engaged, and they approach the art here very differently than they do in more regular institutions.

Interview by Ulrikke Bak
Image courtesy of Young Boy Dancing Group
For more information, see Roskilde Festival

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