Trond Ansten & Benjamin Breitkopf

“ 17 toner hvitt ”

2017Grand Prize


17 toner hvitt

The Arctic. At a glimpse it may all appear white. But there is many shades of whiteness. The curtain behind our metaphoric epos is the shade of polar imperialism. A non existing term that currently makes the Arctic more important than ever. Our team consists of a Norwegian-German crew, and provides a base of nordic approach to polar regions juxtaposed to continental questioning.

This film is positioned in a view from nature rather than society. It is told through a non-spoken visual language, where each scene is a performative act carefully build up as a composition itself. We are working in a language of surreal sculptural images and a hybrid blend of mysticism and historical references, much like the cosmos of Alejandro Jodorowsky. The prologue makes up the current setting where you see a human pulse encapsulated in a black plastic bag, driven by a machine that feeds on a portable petrol generator in the white landscape. Today the polar ice is decreasing. Closed transport passages are opening and new land and sea areas get exposed for fishery and establishment of oil and gas business. All Arctic neighbouring countries strive for legal recognition of larger national territories. But for how long will the pulse keep on beating?

The imagery of the film then opens to present our main protagonists, an anonymous white creature that silently guides the spectator through shades of white. Often people don't even recognize this creature and that is part of the intention. Like Andrei Tarkovsky most consciously works with texture in his films, our idea of «White» is that it blends into the scenery both visually and by act. It becomes a subconscious force that almost unnoticeable seduces the audience throughout the film.

The creature is harvesting ripe snow, while a young Sami is waiting by a desolated mountain road. The yield is taken care of by a viking woman and transformed over the open fire. This act introduces the cod that becomes the second important protagonist of this epos, if one may say that a fish is a protagonist?

Nordic and Sami settlements where based upon cod-fishery since the dawn of ages, and we intend to see the world through the eyes of fish. «Look at the magnificent strength of the cod» a Sami professor in Tromsø noted, as he saw our protagonist pulsating from a fire within the corpus, laying on a snow-bed in the mountains. And this is what the film is offering, there are fragments of stories insinuated, but they stay symbolic and it is left to the audience to make their own narration of them.

The film was shot in the region of Tromsø, Northern-Norway and most of the scenes where recorded between 23:00 and 03:00 in the night. The sun is slightly below the mountains at this time in spring, and we wanted the sphere of the special dim blue light that occurs. Working at this hours allowed us to forsake artificial lightning completely. For the audio we invited the band «As deafness increases» from Oslo to make their musical response to our images. They are much inspired from sounds of nature and use classical instruments to create contemporary expressions. We find their music to blend into our composition in a smooth way that strengthen the meditative feeling.

Working in a slow mood, offering the time to absorb the sculptures presented, we intend to challenge the audience in their perception of storytelling. Although slow, the use of symbolism is almost frightening dense and embraces your imagination. As a visual poem of still moving images. Our epos intends to work in a condition of tension, the circular nature of it suggests a possible reproportion between what we want to value, and how the world appears to operate.

Entries form: Video (27:13)

Selecting judge: Hiraki Sawa

The work was visually polished, with the quality of an artwork, and it was created with a well-defined subject in mind. In it, I saw the possibilities of how far artwork can go in the future if created with new photographic expressions and artistic expressions.



Trond Ansten & Benjamin Breitkopf

Trond Ansten

b.1984, Bamble, Norway

Ansten is a visual artist and biologist based in Tromsø, Northern Norway. Through film, installation and relational works he invites the audience on a journey through science, history and mysticism. He received his education from the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe, Germany, and previously studied nature conservation and expedition guiding. With a strong passion for hunting, fishing and gathering, he explores aspects of man's relationship to wild nature. His films can be read as visual poems build in a performative language of surreal sculptural images that embraces the landscape and current questions.

Ansten was awarded the Government Work Grant for artists in 2019, and has exhibited at galleries and film festivals such as Lofoten International Art Festival (NO), Barents Spektakel (NO), Sami Centre for Contemporary Art (NO) The Arctic Arts Festival (NO), Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Museum Kunst der Westküste (DE), CCA gallery (Glasgow), I-Factory (Shenzhen, China), Delai Film-festival (Moscow), Alternative Film Festival (Belgrade) and Grace Exhibition Space (New York).(last part with listing only if needed)

Benjamin Breitkopf

born 1986 in Donaueschingen, Germany.
He studied at the ZKM Art School in Karlrsuhe, now works as a filmmaker and media artist. He is interested in the complexity of truth, the temporality of news and the individual in the crowd.
He documents everyday scenes from around the world and societal phenomena, which he then exhibits as sprawling in-stallations, projections onto cityscapes and photographs.

He is represented by the gallery


2017Grand Prize

Trond Ansten & Benjamin Breitkopf

17 toner hvitt