Learning for Life
Henie Onstad Art Centre, Oslo, Norway
Collaboration with Ella Aandal
For this project which was commissioned by the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in Oslo for a show called Learning for Life, I asked that a local child or adolescent lead me on an experiential education tour of the city for several days. I wound up working with an amazing twelve year old named Ella Aandal. We had a great time together, and I learned a lot. Anders Hergum who was assisting on the show also came along part of the time. I casually documented the experience with photos which were later presented at the museum along with the following text that Ella wrote.
Before Harrell arrived I made a list of all the things I wanted to show him:
We went to the Botanical garden, there they have a couple of museums as well. We saw the one with the stuffed animals and the green house.
I took Harrell to see my school, It was the week before the beginning of the semester so it was very quiet. No kids.
Harrell had a book by a Norwegian author, it was called Hunger, by Knut Hamsun. He read from the book for me and Anders. It was a strange book.
We went to see the Munch murals at the dining hall at the chocolate factory. It is not for the general public so I had not seen it before. We were lucky.
I took Harrell to Outland, my favorite place in all of Oslo. Outland is a geeky store where you can buy all kinds of weird crap you don’t have any need for. And of course Manga.
We also went to Keyserløkka, just behind my house, where there is a very cool swing. We tried out different techniques to see who was able to slide the longest. From where the swing stands you get a good view of the city.
I took them to the Library, the one close to me that has a special room on the second floor with only comics. A cartoonrary. We spent some time there.
We took the ferry out to Hovedøya, an island in the Oslo fjord. We ate ice cream and had good apple cider and hung out in the old ruins of the old cloister. We walked along the waters edge and looked at the beaches. We were rock skipping. Harrell and Anders went swimming, but I hadn’t brought my swim trunk so I didn’t.
The next day we went to the Technical Museum, also one of my favorite places. They had things about energy and a display about the brain and the body. They have dummies where you have to try to put all the organs back in the right place and another display about how a fetus grows. There were displays about the development of trains, cars and airplanes. There was also an exhibit about diseases.
I showed Harrell my stand up bass and he asked me to play it for him and I did. Then I showed him my drawings of a house, and some monsters and dragons. Then we played a round of cards. No one won.
The last day we went on a mushroom picking trip – to a secret spot. We found several different kinds of mushrooms I don’t know the English names for, like Kantarell, trakt kantarell and lys piggsopp. But the best was when we found a lot of a rare black trumpet mushroom.
That day the weather was good, so even though we could have gone on finding more mushrooms we stopped and went to a beach. There was a float and we swam over to it. It was pretty far, but I made it. Our friends came too, we had dinner together, pasta salad, and I went swimming some more.
I thought the project was great! It was something I had not tried before. I couldn’t wait to get started, but I was a little nervous too.