Fantastic Norway / NOR
Silent Bell
The piece displayed in Venice is a wooden bell suspended from the Nordic Pavilion structure. The bell itself is a gift from Fantastic Norway to Utøya, the island where 69 people lost their lives on July 22nd 2011.
Fantastic Norway has for the last year been working on the re-establishment of the political camp on the island of Utøya. The project for the new camp has been discussed and designed through a close dialogue with the Labour Youth party, who owns the island. The project can be described as a social village, a closely-knit network of several individual houses and outdoor spaces.
Centrally located in the village, a new belfry defines the main square on the island. The word belfry comes from the Old French berfrei, derived from the Germanic bergan (to protect) and frithuz (peace); that is to say, a belfry was originally a watchtower providing protection against hostile incursions. Having the recent incident on the island in mind, we were instinctively drawn to integrating a belfry with a bell into the design of the island.
The traditional metal bell in the belfry has been replaced with one made of turned wood. This is a reference to the Christian tradition in some countries where, before the Easter celebrations, the steel bells were replaced with wooden, “silent” bells as a mark of respect for, and in memory of, lost ones.
At the end of the Venice Biennale 2012, the wooden bell will be transported to Utøya where it will be placed in the belfry on the new main square.

Photo: Fantastic Norway

More information about the exhibition and the other models