A friggebod is a small house that one can build in
Galleri Festiviteten, our hosts, were generous to donate an old hunters cabin that could be the starting point for building our freedom monument. We made an expeditionexpedition with a tractor into the dark and mystical woods of Hurdalen to pick up an old rotten house that had been used as shelter for local hunters. The three hour drive resulted in a one hour (very slow) road movie. To celebrate our safe and sound homecoming we invited the neighbors for dinner in our new house.
The building process
We spent two weeks building the freedom monument. Normal workdays started at ten in the morning and ended at ten at night, with brakes for lunch and dinner. A wooden house is something that almost everyone in Eidsvoll Verk can relate to - everyone lives in one. Using a familiar structure as the center of attention in our art piece got both new visitors and locals interested in supervising the building process. We wanted to get some local involvement and asked two school classes to help us define freedom. They brought us a series of objects and stories that we later made place for in the cabin.
A house can be a shelter as well as a prison. Making a house into an open and modifiable structure prevents us from predefining or labeling spaces. Things that have the liberty to move and to change are essentially free.
The first thing we did was to cut off the roof to let some air into the cabin, which reeked of sweat and dead beasts. The roof was hinged so that it could be opened and closed depending on the weather. Besides this, the door was made to open at the bottom so that it could be used as a gangway, as well as a door. On the side of the building we built an adjustable plateau that could be closed during transportation. In front of the cabin a small hill was with Swedish grass gave support to a flagpole with the Swedish flag. Plants were installed all around the cabin and on a grid structure in front of the hill, to give the feeling of walking trough hills and forests. The walls were made into a transportable vegetable garden. Water was collected from the roof in a plastic bin, to be used as drinking water or for watering the plants. One sidewall was opened to act as a table for outdoor picnics. Ladders and steps were made so that one could move all around the building without touching Norwegian soil. The mobility of the house, makes for a walk on an imaginary boundless planet.
On the inside only small alterations were made, keeping intact the spirit of the original house. The floor was painted blue and bed was installed that could function as a look-out tower on sunny days. Along with the stove already in place, we made a small multi-purpose kitchen unit suitable for one or two persons. Certain stocks of Swedish supplies were left in the cabin for rainy days along with a set of open drawers containing a collection of objects representing freedom made by the different local school children.
The big day
On the eve of the 17th of May, we moved the finished sculpture to the other side of the river, besides a bronze sculpture of Henerik Wergeland, a famous Norwegian poet. We were not the only ones preparing ourselves for the big day. It seemed like the whole community was gradually changing while we there and there were often marching bands practicing in the streets. In the morning after the Norwegian flag had reached the top of all the flag poles in the district, the Swedish flag was hoisted in front of the Eidsvoll building. Over 20 000 people had come to Eidsvoll to take part in the celebrations. Among them were the Swedish and the Norwegian prime ministers. Later in the day, the Swedish band Majessic Dreams held a two-hour concert on the top of the friggebod. A wonderful mix of electronic and acoustic music. Most of the songs were from their new album “listen to the moon”.
We were not granted the permission to keep the sculpture in front of the Eidsvoll building. On the 18th of May our Swedish planet was moved into a local historical museum showing the lumberjack equipment and development of transportation in the district a good home for a hunters cabin.
see www.hundrearsmarkeringen.no for more infromation about Eidsvoll Verk.
see www.festiviteten.com for more information about Festiviteten.