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Blood club #II

The aim of Blood Club #2 was to create a shared club ethos, one big collective, one big WE.

Research shows that to create a WE, a THEM is needed. Since Blood Club is for everyone who has blood, it is difficult to find anyone on the outside. The audience was divided into groups on the basis of height and hair colour, then an attempt was made, with moderate success, to shake the four groups together at the end of the club meeting. Hard-core band ONDT BLOD (Bad Blood) performed the club song, Vara Valvi, for the first time.

Blood club #2 reviews

“A meeting of ‘Blood Club – the club for everyone who has blood’ has been convened on the first floor of the City Bar and Diner in Harstad. The premises are filled to the gills when those of us in the research group arrive. We end up sitting in various places around the room – on the floor, on a folding chair, on the armrest of a sofa. People are filling their tanks with beer and wine. It is unclear what we have been invited to, but clear we should not expect to be served the Sami blood-dish, gumbá. Something else is on the menu: issues concerning belonging, affiliation and togetherness. The club badge, declaring ‘Est. 2018 / Blodklubb /Vara Valvi’ above a large white drop of blood on a blood-red background, is projected on a screen on one wall. The club’s founders step forward, introducing themselves as ‘author and Markasami’ Sigbjørn Skåden, ‘Finnish/Norwegian performance artist’ Kristina Junttila, ‘actor and Norwegianised Coastal Sami’ Bernt Bjørn and ‘dramaturg and rivgu’ [Norwegian woman], Kristin Bjørn. This turns out to be Blood Club’s second meet and, on this occasion, visitors to the Arctic Arts Festival are invited to participate in what the club leaders describe as “the hunt for the ultimate US, where the blood can freely course through our bodies”. But, as they further explain, community can only be created by creating “clear boundaries”.

Everyone in the room is therefore asked to cut off a lock of hair, and on the basis of the different colours we are divided into four groups, each with its dedicated club leader. These in turn hold fighting speeches to attract more members to their particular group. (…) It is not the performative implosion of the romantic idea of the great ‘We’ that makes Blood Club’s performance so important, rather that the club meeting seems to create a collective space where otherwise individualised frictions and exclusions come to the fore. Although we leave the bar speechless, we cannot manage to let go of what we have just witnessed. The unpleasantness sticks, as if the grief that permeated Skåden’s speech is now pasted on us in all our differences. As something we must all relate to – together.”

– Brit Kvamvig, from the research diary, Artic Arts Festival, 29th June 2019.

“I did really not know what to expect when being directed to the second floor of the city bar in Harstad. I had signed up for Blodklubb and my curiosity was mainly around how this controversial show or gathering around genealogy would play out. As a newcomer to the area I did not have all the references in place but that did not mean I did not comprehend the methods and the means of this performative community experience. I thought it was daring, playful and edgy. Obviously some of the people in the audience were quite provoked and perhaps rightfully so but Ferske Scener managed to create a space for a truly shared experience, where you were invited to participate in a communal event that left me quite touched and certainly sparked many thoughts both about the artistic approach and about the content. The best experiences I have when proposed with an artistic content is when I see that the artist/s are trying to convey something that is close to them, their hearts and/or convictions and to be allowed to be a part of a meaningful process. All this I did experience that night and I wish for Blodklubb to remain as a search for a meaningful exchange between people of different backgrounds and opinions.”

Ragnheiður Skúladóttir
Director, Arctic Arts Festival