The Electromagnetic Fountain

EMF to Article 2008

with one comment

Great news!

The Electromagnetic Fountain has been selected to appear in Article 2008, a nordic biannual exhibition for unstable and electronic artforms in Stavanger, Norway. The exhibition is organised and produced in close collaboration with i/o/lab and co-curated with Jens Hauser. It will take place from 15-30 November 2008.

Hege Tapio (of i/o/lab) sent me a mail telling me about an historical fountain situated in the old town square that played a central role in the social life of Stavanger. Searching the web, I found an article about it.

[ …. Mortepompå
Midt på Torget lå byens beste, offentlige brønn, med Mortepompå. Ifølge senere myter kunne den pumpe mort. Det var selvsagt det reneste sludder. Sikkert er det at nyheter om stort og smått har blitt formidlet rundt denne «pompå».

Når brønnen og Mortepompå så dagens lys, vet vi ikke. I 1845 var den så skrøpelig at den måtte restaureres.

Brønnen og Mortepompå forsvant da byens vannverk ble etablert i 1865. Da hadde Stavanger 16.647 innbyggere, fordelt på 1490 boliger. Alle hadde kort vei til Torget, der de kunne nyte den fantastiske fontenen som hadde erstattet Mortepompå. På folkemunne fikk den navnet «Merakkelset», og kan i dag ses utenfor Rosenkildehuset. ]

Aftonbladet, 11.04.06:

Basically it tells the story of the town’s best public well that stood in the town square and was equipped with a powerful pump (Mortepompå – I’m not sure how to translate this word. Something to do with canons?). The date of the origin of the well and pump are unknown, but by 1845 it was in such a bad state that it had to be restored. In 1865, when the town’s public water works were established to cater for the growing number of inhabitants, the pump and well disappeared. In its place a “wonderful” fountain appeared, that was locally referred to as “merakkelset”. As far as I can gather, “merakkels” is a word that describes the extreme hopelessness of either a person or situation. It seems that the local folks missed the well as a social gathering place, and the fountain was a poor substitute for it.

Based on this historical information, it seems that the town square would be a very appropriate place for the Electromagnetic Fountain.

Another occurrence that Hege brought to my attention is that on 22nd May there’ll be a meeting at iPark (Innovation Park, Stavanger) to discuss the effects of electromagnetic radiation on the body! So it seems that everything is coming together.

One Response

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  1. Just to clear up, on the edge of the town square, close to the pump was a house called Mortahus – where the well/pump got its name. However, “morter” is also the Norwegian name fall small fry fish, and rumor had it that you could pump small fish out of the well too!

    “merakkelset” can be used to describe something useless – junk, or a collection of junk, so it would seem that the locals used the term ironically …. thanks to Hege Tapio and the folks on Underskog’s translation group for clearing this up.


    May 18, 2008 at 2:49 pm

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