Another thing about Norway is that, with a population of ‘only’ around 5.3 million, everyone is more likely to know everyone else. It turns out that Helen from Tenthaus knows sound artist Jana Winderen, whose work at SALT I had heard the morning I met Helen. Spring Bloom in the Marginal Ice Zone was stunning, even more so listening to it alone with fresh coffee in a specially constructed wooden amphitheatre/sauna (I heard it unheated) overlooking Oslo harbour. I had arrived early at SALT to guarantee a place among the hordes I was sure would be there for this prestigious Arts Council Norway-funded installation. At 11.10am, ten minutes after it should have opened, I wandered around the empty site until I found someone serving in the cafe. He wasn’t the person who was supposed to run it, but happily found a key, opened it up and together we worked out how to turn on the sound system. I sat in a dream world under the ocean with Jana and in Svalbard’s Global Seed Vault in a piece by Signe Lidén.
My stay in Oslo was coming to an end, and I’d had my fill of city life, craving the strange intimacy that only wilderness can provide, so after peering through the windows of all the other galleries I wouldn’t get to see, I got on a plane to Longyearbyen, Svalbard.