A K Dolven’s Untuned Bell in Oslo

The untuned town hall bell, which was removed from its 48 fellow bells in the tower of Oslo City Hall in year 2000, is on its way back to its old neighborhood. Today 22 August, the artwork will be installed at Honnørbrygga on Rådhusplassen in Oslo.

A K Dolven discovered this 1.4-ton bell mute on the ground and has conserved its voice. Untuned Bell is installed close to the City Hall at Honnørbrygga, one of the quays adjacent to Rådhusplassen, The City Hall Square. The bell hangs suspended from a 30-metre wire strung between two 20-metre steel columns, directly opposite its former home, with the sea and sky as a backdrop.

A “Cry Baby” pedal, of the same type used by rock guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix and others, has been set onto the ground. By pushing the pedal, the audience can call forth sound from the shunned, out-of-tune and long-silenced bell.

Norwegian composer Rolf Wallin has composed a specially commissioned work for Untuned Bell – each day over the course of a week, the composition gradually activates the bells remaining in the City Hall’s carillon. One by one, they join in. As always, when an outcast is welcomed back into the fold, only a few initially dare to speak out on the outcast’s behalf. The composition will be performed in connection with the bell’s return. Close to its original home, the bell can once again converse with its former community at the top of the tower.

Curator: Kristine Jærn Pilgaard

Image: Vegar Moen