In the tenth edition of Ultima Remake, Nils Henrik Asheim’s adventurous multimedia project Organotopia was the source work for this year’s participants.
Ultima Remake is an educational project which introduces young audiences to the world of contemporary music. The project is based on a simple idea: taking an existing musical work and letting teenagers create their own version of it using available creative tools and means of expression.
For the fourth year in a row, a class in Art, Design and Architecture at Elvebakken high school got the chance to take part in Ultima Remake during the Ultima Festival.
In the first workshop, 60 pupils took part in a presentation of the source work Organotopia. Architects from the Søstra100 collective explained the background to the work as well as the social context and local history which was a starting point for the work’s development. Composer and organst Nils Henrik Asheim introduced the pupils to Organotopia’s musical elements. They examined the organ in St Paul’s Church, asked questions and got to try out the organ with its thousands of large and small pipes. Asheim demonstrated the organ’s massive arsenal of sounds and tones, and played extracts from well known organ favourites as well as some improvisations of his own.
Three four-hour sessions took place during the spring, in which a smaller group of pupils collected stories and fragments, drew up sketches and built their own model. These creative workshops were led by scenographer and architect Julie Barfod and Mira Hahn from Søstra100.
The pupils’ papier-maché models and ‘remake’ formed a part of Organotopia’s visual sculptures in Birkelund Park during Ultima 2022. Some of the students read aloud stories from the neighbourhood, which were then mixed in with the music. 180 pupils from all three high school years in Art, Design and Architecture took part in the dress rehearsal for Organotopia.