Something for Something, 2019
Social action / mixed media, dimension variable.
Kateřina Šedá often takes action as a way of creating exchange and communication between people in their everyday spaces – where urban planning and the politics of everyday life is at stake. In her work for LIAF 2019, Kateřina looks into a recurring theme of her practice: tourism. In Lofoten the issue of tourism is different from most well-known tourist destinations in Europe, where it creates houses that nobody lives in and shops that no-one needs. Here, the tourists are more spread out across the geography, creating what Kateřina sees as a sort of “invisible tourism”. As a way of inverting this invisibility, Kateřina takes the transparency of the Norwegian society as an inspiration. No matter the location, the tourist is often seen as an agent of extraction. They are short-term visitors whose goal it seems is to consume and collect from every place they visit. Politicians tend to argue that tourists also contribute to the communities they are visiting: they create new jobs and spend money on accommodation and food. But is that enough?
In Something for Something, Kateřina proposes a tourist of a more positive force. Someone who is exposed, and who can contribute with something other than financial injections into gentrification processes. As a site for this project Kateřina has infiltrated the Airbnb accommodation system, a key element of invisible tourism. On a worldwide scale Airbnb arguably turns city centres into open-air museums, and it is also starting to make its mark in Lofoten. In the last few years, people who live and work here have found it increasingly hard to find places to rent throughout the year, as house owners prefer renting out within the more profitable short-term system. In Something for Something both the Airbnb accommodation and the tourist is exposed: A caravan is placed outside one of the LIAF 2019 venues, the “Lofotpostbygget”, and is offered free of charge for tourists willing to pay with a visible, positive deed to members of the community. In this way the artist is asking questions of both the system and the individual tourists and local people to see if a new model of exchange can be made possible.
Something for Something is a new commission for LIAF 2019 / North Norwegian Art Centre.
Kateřina Šedá (b.1977) is an artist currently based in Brno, Czech Republic.