Burning questions

Foreground | Artists in Kirkenes are asked to imagine what an increased Chinese presence in the region might look like

Kevin McGwin

Each year since 2004, the organisers of Barents Spektakel (pictured above) have sought to use their cultural festival to put some of the big questions facing the Barents Region and the wider Arctic on display. This year, the event, taking place this week, will seek to deconstruct China’s interest in the region.

Depending on whom you ask, the 21st century will be the Chinese Century, as the 20th belonged to America. So far, regional questions relating to its rise have related to whether it should be welcomed as an Arctic player, and whether its intentions, and its investments, are in the best interest of the people in the region.

Instead of debating those questions directly for the umpteenth time, Barents Spektakel will take a more virtual approach by asking participating artists to think ahead and transform host city Kirkenes into a future version of itself to give their take on how increased Chinese involvement in the region might play out.

At this time of year, the Chinese greet the New Year with a play on words that proclaims that wealth has arrived (福到了!). In Kirkenes this week, the words will be the same, though they are more likely to be punctuated by a question mark than anything else.

When: 13-17 Feb
Where: Kirkenes, Norway
WWW: Barents Spektakel (official site)

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Foreground articles offer a preview of events related to the Arctic that will be taking place in coming week.

If you have a topic you think ought to be profiled in a coming week, please e-mail kevin@rasmussen.is.

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