Oslo Mobile Kunsthall

19-26 August

In February 2005 we contacted Helga Marie Nordbye, the director of Oslo Kunsthall, and asked her if Oslo Kunsthall would be interested in cooperating with us for a show in August. Oslo Kunsthall which has for a long time been without a home, due to the increased gentrifying forces in the city center, took our invitation with open arms.

Our idea was to do seven one day show with seven different artists/ artist groups at seven different locations in Oslo . We invited artists we had met on our travel through Europe and the Nordic countries.

We invited our guests to play a round of Monopoly. The number on the dies would decide the location for each of the one-day events around the city. Opening hours were from 11 to 17.


Oslo , like many other western capitals have recurrently been suffering from waves of gentrification. As the city has been de-industrialized, neighbourhoods that used to house workers and people with low income wages have gradually been taken over by wealthy entrepreneurs that have seen the potential for making money. This speculation has in turn created a rise in housing prices and has many times forced the people that used to live in these areas to move further out of the city center in order to survive[1].

Oslo Kunsthall

Since its creation in 1995, Oslo Kunsthall has also been a victim to increased gentrification in the city center. The Kunsthall has been forced to move several times due to the increase in housing prices. With a cut in state funding last year, Oslo Kunsthall could no longer finance renting an exhibition space. In this situation we felt that something had to be done!

The game of monopoly

Monopoly is a game that in many ways exemplifies the gentrification process. The first version of the board game was originally called the Landlord Game and was made by Elizabeth Magie in 1904. Her idea was to make a game that could exemplify the problems with the prevailing system of land tenure by which only a few profited from the rise in land prices. The game soon became popular and was then copied to cover many of the important cities in the United States .

Some thirty years later, Charles B. Darrow, presents a game by the name Monopoly (the game as we know it today) to Parker Brothers, who eventually buys all rights to the game, giving them monopoly over monopoly. In the new version of the game, Parker Brothers explain that the idea of the game is to become the wealthiest and most powerful property owner in town.

After the war monopoly also became popular in Europe . The first monopoly game in Norway came out in the 50s. The game had Oslo ’s main streets as its point of reference. The game maker Damm produced the game until the mid 80s when Parker Brother decided that they would again take over the production rights.[2] Damm then decided to make their own version called “Millionær”. In 1974, an economics professor, Ralph Anspach, invented the game “Anti-Monopoly”, a game in which players would break up big business monopolies. After a ten year long fierce lawsuit with Parker Brothers, it was again established that monopoly is a folk game.



http://www.brikkerogbrett.com/spill/monopol.shtml www.antimonopoly.com

[1] It is a paradox that as we are writing this text, the building we are sitting in is threatened to be destroyed by an owner who wants to profit from the rise in housing prices to construct new slick apartments for trendy young people forcing out. The problem with gentrification is that is a non democratic process of urban development since it gradually excludes the presence of people with types of employment or social background. The building we are in, for instance, is the work place for many important designers, architects and artists in Oslo .


[2] For the Oslo Mobile Kunsthall event we used a gameboard from 1975, the same date as our veteran mobile home.