WALK OF SHAME (WOS) is an artist collective based in Bergen, Norway. WOS explores the interrelation between performative and social spaces by means of tableaux vivants, visual landscapes and interactive meetings between performer and spectator. WOS seeks to challenge the established hegemony of genres across disciplines such as visual arts, performance, live arts, and concerts. Our artistic mission focuses largely on encouraging the audience to consider why and how one looks at art. We wish to introduce the public to totalistic experiences by providing access to a universe that allows for critical reflection, imagination and a state of shamelessness. The collective was established in 2012 and has been working site-specifically since 2015, aiming to meet audiences outside the already established physical contexts of spectatorship. WOS’ visual expression combines elements such as clubbing culture, natural landscapes, trash culture and consumerism.
We are continuously creating new work and the creative process will often include a work in progress being shown in the form of a pop-up somewhere in the urban landscape, in bars, on the street or in residential areas. Our most recent large-scale project, GRAND TOUR (2016), was a walking tour of a stately banquet hall in Bergen –the name thereby referencing not only the act of being guided through the building but also alluding to the concept of The Grand Tour of the 17th century, a trip considered to be a cultural finishing school of sorts for the wealthy classes. In a mixture of tableaux vivants, scenographic installations and soundscapes, the spectators and the performers were intertwined in the same surreal reality. The evening gradually culminated into a party with DJs and a buzzing dance floor.
WOS looks into the complex relationship between the individual and the collective, seeking to expose the mechanisms at play when the individual becomes aware of her existence as seen through the presence of “the others”. Does a person’s identity remain the same in a variation of social spaces? Who determines when we are to act like an audience in a performance context? These questions are transferred to the foundation of our works, which relies on giving each individual spectator the freedom to choose her own path. We juxtapose the notions of freedom vs. captivity, responsibility vs. abandonment, advancement vs. standstill, plastic vs. organic. Should you not fit into what is considered the appropriate level of these divides, you risk ending up in the socially constructed zone known as SHAME. As artists we reduce ourselves to pawns in this game – exposed with all our flaws and faults. The name WALK OF SHAME invokes a desire to accompany the audience on a journey towards un-education, seeking to reach a level of collective shamelessness – a shameless one-night stand, if you will.