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200 Voices: Anne Lise Stenseth

My coming film essay “Detour”, reflects on topics like labour, daily life in the factory and the workers position in society due to changes in the market, but also the symbolical value associated with the metaphor “life after death”. The story of the shoe factory continues and becomes something else, recognizeable, unrecognizeable and creates different (hi)stories. It is a work about place, belonging, identity, migration, and the story takes place somewhere between the past, present, reality and fiction.”

“In 2009 I moved to the Westcoast of Norway after 26 years in Oslo, the capital of Norway. I started to orientate myself in the area and my attention was drawn to an old Shoe Factory in the village of Dale in Sunnfjord. The factory was in trouble already, and in 2011 they lost their contracts with the Norwegian Army to cheaper competitors abroad. “Dale-Sko AS” wanted to keep their small scale production in Norway instead of moving the production to a low cost country. Soon after the factory closed down. A few months later articles was published with headings like “Back To The Factory” (Norwegian edition of Le Monde Diplomatic, Nr.3, March 2012), about the reindustrialisation of parts of Europe and USA in a time when it has become more expensive to produce goods for example in China.

During 2010 I started my artistic research in the factory that resulted in two film-sessions,located in the production- and the storage halls. One part is the registration of the activities in the factory, and the other part is staged material, played by three female actresses.

On the 9 December 2011 the local bank, now the owner of the factorys leftovers, opened the bankrupt estate in the former Shoe factory in Dale to the public. Many people, including myself left their homes on a saturday morning to get cheap sealskin boots, national costume shoes, furniture, tools, materials, office supplies, industrial machines and the like. The atmosphere was like.., well you can imagine. In this way we said farewell to more than 110 years of industrial history, and to a factory thathas been a vital part of the spinal core in the villagemost of this time. It is also worth mentioning the fact that this factoryhad one of Norways first female industrial leaders from 1911-18, Ms. Thora Wettergren. Political and creative forces in Dale arenow negotiating overrentingor buying the factory building and use it for cultural purposes. By doing so Dale will add themselves to the list of many cities and places where the traditional industry moves out and the cultural industry moves in. “One man’s death is another man’s bread”, as they say.

Again it is 9 December 2011 in the former Shoe Factory in Dale. Someone has bought two filing cabinets, emptied the content and left it in a pile on the floor. Shoe patterns in jablon form has fallen out of covers and envelopes. I collect them, bring themto my studio, and start to work on a series of drawings. The working title is “The Secret Life Of Shoe Patterns” or maybe “The Subconsciousness Of The Shoe”. The cutting of shoe patterns is the first physical process in making a shoe. In their new life this time, they become drawings, photographs or film sequences. In this way history becomes contemporary and the contemporary becomes history.”

Anne Lise Stenseth, 2012

This text is a revisted version of the artproject ”The Shoe Factory In Dale 1899-2011, Rest in Piece(s)”, produced for and published in the artist newspaper ”Kome til deg i Tidende – (Coming To You In Time)”, 2012.

Image “Detour” (work in progress) 2012, filmstill 

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