The Colder the Weather the Warmer the Hearts (2023)

2023 I was invited by NOUA and Curator Alexander Mourant to make work in response to the Arkiv in Nordland. After researching the Archive I learnt of a community fashion show hosted in the NOUA building in 1953 which showcased the latest Bodo fashion worn by 7 models. This led me to propose a new event that would bring together fashion, the community of Bodo, NOUA’s past and present and the Nordland Photographic Archive.

Artists are often embedded into communities to make 'art'. My ambition was not to teach the people of Bodo about their own culture and history but to think about archives and how they can be activated and accessed in new and exciting ways. Sitting in Espen Kjelling's office looking through the mass of imagery, I selected photographs that felt both historical and personal, from the portrait of a young Evy Landsholm to the images of the bombed landscape of wartime Bodo.

I initiated an open call asking for 7 volunteers ( as in the original fashion show) to model a photographic outfit and to walk a catwalk in the NOUA building. I was contacted by exactly 7 participants who ranged between the ages of 45 and 85 years. The number 7 (an important number for me) prevailed through the entire project, 7 models, 7 images of the 1953 models on the walls, 7 boards on the catwalk stage, 7 outfits and 7 pairs of shoes...

The photographic outfits were produced in the UK catering to the chest, waist and hip measurements of each model. Through conversation, I learnt the biographies of each participant, all of whom had diverse, intriguing, impressive and unique stories to tell.

We met, mostly for the first time in person just 3 days before the event and with trepidation, I presented their outfits. The potential for failure was high but placing trust in happenstance ( a motif of my practice) all of the dresses fitted and we quickly became a team, where new friendships and trust formed.

On the 23rd of September, the 7 models took to the catwalk supported by a sizeable and excited audience. I introduced each model with a small biography and an explanation of each wearable photograph by date, author and description. The background music 'Dream Operator' by David Byrne was carefully chosen, referencing the epic catwalk in his film ' True Stories', a tale of a small town coming together to celebrate the 'specialness' of its community.

The Colder the Weather the Warmer the Hearts catwalk event is a vehicle to combine both the past and present, within a community setting as well as a conceptual act of physically activating photographic archives in a bold and unique way. After the event, NOUA offered Wafflecakes and drinks and the audience ate, drank and danced to the band. The clothes were then left to hang in the space along with this film of the event.


Curator Essay