The exhibition is produced by Bildmuseet with funding support from Umeå2014 and Kulturkontakt Nord (Nordic Culture Point). Thanks to Sámi Dáiddáriid ja Girječalliid Buhtadusfoanda.
The collective of architects FFB has studied public spaces in Umeå and reflected on how they are used. Applying careful investigation and spatial interventions as a tool for research, they explore how the spaces relate to the philosophical terms "smooth space" and "nomadism" by Deleuze and Guttari.
Smooth spaces may be described as spaces characterized by creativity, heterogeneity and fluidity, a contrast to centralized urban planning. The architects ponder whether using the concept of smooth space may facilitate a broader and more diverse discussion about our public spaces.
During their two-week stay in Umeå, the group has noticed the different critical voices discussing Umeå's urban spaces. They claim that "Conflicts are beneficial for a democratic society" and emphasize that we need spaces where the discussions can take place. In addition to polarized discussions in the media there is also a need for arenas where eye-to-eye discussions may take place. For this purpose the group has started to build a Sámi tent according to traditional building techniques outside the old roundhouse at Haga. They invited citizens of Umeå to a seminar about the traditional building technique so that they can finish the tent and use it for their meetings.
During the course of their stay they have also maintained a continuous dialogue with Erik Persson, Umeå, regarding three different themes that have emerged from their research: "Smooth space", "The urban nomad" and "The perfect surface". The exhibition features three poetic texts that summarize their discussions on these themes, all written by Erik Persson.
The film that is screened in the exhibition is an evocative depiction of the process of gathering materials for the tent, put together by the visual artist Matti Aikio. An important aspect of the group's way of working is to apply a gentle collection method that does not leave wounds in the landscape. They carefully select trees and bark and "cull" them out. An important aspect of nomadic tradition is that building processes should not leave traces behind. Therefore, the tent is entirely built from biodegradable materials. Wooden pegs instead of nails and screws, and each building element is carefully selected to fulfil its function. For example, the bent birch trunk that is used for shaping the dome ceiling of tents.
FFB (Felleskapsprosjektet å Fortette Byen) are three Norwegian architects based in Oslo and Tromsø: Håvard Arnhoff (f. 1979), Joar Nango (f. 1979) and Eystein Talleraas (f. 1980). The project Searching for Smooth Space at Bildmuseet is part of a series of investigations of public space, which the architect collective is performing in various geographical locations.