BareBones 2020 · OFFERINGS: Artists Respond to the Mourning, Grieving and Fires on Lake Street
Kari Tauring and Kurt Seaberg
Kurt Seaberg and Kari Tauring have worked in collaboration to create The Loom, a textile sculpture connecting Nordic root culture and responsibility.
The Loom – Barebones 2020 Nordic pod – Kurt Seaberg
We came as exiles.
We came as refugees.
We came fleeing poverty and persecution.
And the land welcomed us, offering deep, nurturing soil to sink our transplanted roots.
We brought with us a rich inheritance, a beautiful tapestry woven on an ancient loom by millions of hands, handed down to us through the generations: cultural traditions of language, food, dance, music and art… and the memories of home.
We tried to hold on to these traditions, through the churches we founded, the immigrant societies we joined. But we also wanted to fit in.
We stopped speaking the language of our birth. We changed our names, reinvented ourselves. And gradually we forgot about the tapestry.
There was something seductive about our new home. We quickly learned that because of the lightness of our skin we were granted certain advantages, privileges. Like better jobs, better opportunities, land.
So we jumped into the great melting pot,
We became WHITE PEOPLE…
And the tapestry broke.
At what cost?
For a little bit of power we paid with our souls, became uprooted, without lineage, without family ties, without a past.
Can we recover what we’ve lost? Can we reweave the tapestry our ancestors made for us? Can we root ourselves once more in the rich, green earth that sustains and nurtures us?
The ancient voices still speak to us, if we would only listen, offering guidance, offering wisdom.
And with this knowledge we can write a new story, one based upon justice and equality, one that not only takes but gives back in return…
The Warp Weighted Loom by Kari Tauring
The Warp Weighted Loom is an ancient technology used in cultures all over the world. It is a simple beam that holds warp strings which are weighted with rocks or clay discs and held plum with the earth’s gravity. The beam is held by two poles with hooks.
The Warp Weighted Loom plays a significant role in the mythological stories and sagas of Nordic people. Our loom weights, skulls, reference the “Song of the Valkyries” from Njáls saga. This saga is a cautionary tale against taking vengeance for slights and careless words. In it, war is woven on the loom and fates decided by the choosers of the slain.
In our loom, the warp strings represent our Northern European root cultures, weighted by the thoughts, words, and deeds of our ancestors. They are strings of öorlog (Old Norse for something like karma). Öorlog is the sum-total of who we are, where we came from, ancestral memories, knowlege, skills and the shild (debt) we owe for our being here now.
The weft threads, woven into the warp, represent the influences of environment, culture, and community actions called the wyrd (a cognate of öorlog and something like dharma). Together these strings of influence and being create the story of individuals, communities, and cultures. Our weave starts in the far north with a Sami band. It continues with the cultures touching Sami lands, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, and Russian, and flows towards Denmark and Iceland.
Each generation has the opportunity to look into the weave and pull out the strings that do not belong, re-connect the strings that have been broken, and strengthen and continue the threads that are true and good and pay the debts we owe to the generations that came before us. Here in America, our debt to those whose lands we are now living on and those who were “imported” to work this land is a heavy burden with shild we must pay.
In Old Norse, there is no future tense. The Norns (fate women) who weave our web of wyrd are named Urðr, Verðandi, and Skuld or Is, Becoming, and Should. There is only past precedence and the now that we are in. There is only what we should/shall do and not some future ideal. We can only create a better past precedence for our children, not a future out there somewhere.
We shall repair the strings broken by colonization, trauma, and false narratives woven into our wyrd before we got to America and perpetuated in this land. We shall pick up the threads of root cultural values and strengths and weave past precedence for our children with strong threads of racial justice, equality, humanity, and in connection with the root cultures of our neighborhood and our world.
- For the recent OFFERINGS live pop-ups, the work was hung in the storefront window of Ingebretsen’s Nordic Marketplace on Lake Street. Oct 22 to Nov 9, 2020, 1601 E. Lake St.
- Acknowledgments: Ingebretsens Nordic Marketplace, artist and Ingebretsen’s family member, Anna Bloomstrand and volunteers from the community.
About the Artists
Kari Tauring is a Nordic root folk artist, performer, cultural educator, and spiritual leader. A völva (staff carrying woman), Kari pioneered the spiritual technology called Völva Stav, Body/Mind/Spirit integration with the cosmic tree through staving (stick rhythm), song, dance, poetry, and runes (the original script of Germanic peoples from 165 CE). Kari is a horn prayer and healer. Her favorite projects have been festival performance/workshop combinations with children and grandparents in attendance. Kari sings the Edda (Great Grandmother) Poems relating their great wisdom and teachings from Nordic culture. She also loves teaching Norwegian circle dances about waking the bear and overcoming fear of the crow. Her ritual performance collaborations for Winter Solstice have been continuous in Minneapolis since 1999.
Kurt Seaberg has worked in a number of mediums but for many years has directed much of his creative energy through lithography. He studied art and earned his B.A. at the University of Washington and continued his studies at the University of Minnesota in the 1980’s. He is a working member of HighPoint Center for Printmaking. “One of the tasks of the artist, I feel, is to remind us where our strength and power lies – in beauty, community and a sense of place,” says Kurt (via website).