The Lofoten International Art Festival (Liaf) takes place every two years on the Lofoten archipelago, just off the coast of northern Norway. The islands rise up out up of the Norwegian Sea in spectacular fashion and have for centuries been home to the countrys cod fishing industry, described in the 19th century by the countrys parliament as “Norways most important gold mine” (this was, of course, before the country struck black gold in the North Sea at the end of the 1960s). The cod industry continues to be one of the main industries in the area and has been joined in the past few decades by a significant growth in nature tourism.

Liafs two main exhibition venues this year are the Former Lofotposten Building and the North Norwegian Art Centre, both of which are in Lofotens largest town Svolvær. However, this edition has also placed a particular emphasis on artists residencies and workshops in different communities around the islands, with the first one beginning back in July 2018. Around 30 artists have taken part in Liaf 2019 and below are some of the highlights from the exhibition, residencies and workshops.

The main funding for Liaf comes from the Arts Council Norway.

Lofoten International Art Festival, Svolvær, Lofoten, until 29 September

• For more on Liaf, see Work of art advertised on Airbnb lets visitors stay for free in the Arctic Circle—but theres a twist

Signe Lidén's Tidal Sense (2019) (© Photo: Dan Mariner)

The loose theme for Liaf 2019 is the “intertidal zone”, the area that is covered by water at high tide and exposed during low tide. The Oslo-based artist Signe Lidén placed a 28m-long hemp canvas, kitted out with several microphones, onto the foreshore near the village of Ramberg to record underwater sounds when it was almost fully submerged at high tide and the sound of the winds and gulls at low tide.

Signe Lidén's Tidal Sense (2019) recording sounds in intertidal zone near the village of Ramberg (© Photo: Signe Lidén)

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“[The intertidal zone is] often such a visual thing, but Lidén wanted to get a sense of listening closely [to it],” says Neal Cahoon, who has curated this years festival along with Hilde Methi, Karolin Tampere and Torill Østby Haaland.

Signe Lidén's Tidal Sense (2019) (© Photo: Kjell Ove Storvik/Liaf)

Signe Lidéns Tidal Sense (2019), on show in the Former Lofotposten Building, where it has now been converted into a speaker membrane, playing the recordings that were collected earlier.

João Pedro Vale and Nuno Alexandre Ferreira'a Semiotics of the Cod performance lecture (© Photo: Kjell Ove Storvik/Liaf)

The Portuguese duo João Pedro Vale and Nuno Alexandre Ferreira conducted their performance lecture during the opening week of Liaf. The lecture is part of their work Semiotics of the Cod (2019), which also includes an installation and a publication. It is the result of a three-month residency on the nearby island of Skrova, where the artists explored the history of the salted cod (bacalhau) trade between Norway and Portugal. The “turning point of [their residency] was a lecture performance where they cooked Bacalhau à Braz” for the tiny village where they were staying, Cahoon says. It proved a hit as they were only expecting a dozen people to turn up but instead around 50 did.

Katerina Sedá's Something for Something (2019) (© Photo: Kjell Ove Storvik/Liaf)

Although Vale and Ferreiras work was focused on salted cod, in this region the fish is dried without salt to produce stockfish, which is primarily exported to Italy, says the co-curator Torill Østby Haaland. The wooden structures used to dry the fish can be seen in the distance, while on the left is Something for Something (2019) by the Czech artist Kateřina Šedá.

Katerina Sedá's Something for Something (2019) (© Photo: Kjell Ove Storvik/Liaf)

Šedás Something for Something (2019) is a “social action” work where the artist advertised a free stay in her caravan on Airbnb in exchange for “a contribution to the local community of Svolvær in the form of a good deed”. A post box has been set up for locals to leave suggestions on ways that visitors can contribute, from “making food, baking cakes [to] cleaning an old mans apartment”, Haaland says.

(© Photo: Dan Mariner)

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