No Strand

A shared nostalgia

A collaboration between Boris Kourtoukov and Susanne Fernløf Arntzen.

No Strand is an immersive and interactive experience exploring the rich tapestry of nostalgia — a deep and complex phenomenon within the broader human experience. The project captures and reinterprets personal recollections from the past to see if this can evoke an emotional response in the audience similar to how the artists experience nostalgia. No Strand explores whether it is possible to transfer this personal experience of nostalgia through a digital medium.

The Hvaler archipelago, a place with deep nostalgic links for one of the artists, is the physical inspiration for No Strand. It is the foundation for the virtual world, which is built using aerial scans, textures, flora, and sounds from the location, but it is more than just a digital facsimile. Memories take form as bespoke objects, sounds, and phenomena that fill this worldspace, capturing moments, feelings and atmospheres that span the past and the present.

No Strand plays at the very edges of what is possible with Virtual Reality today. The hyper-realistic replica in both the visual and soundscape is gently warped by dream logic and rewritten memories. The use of these intentional distortions pose the question: what do we actually see in these nostalgic recollections? The virtual landscape becomes the manifestation of this introspection. Outside of the virtual environment mirror-like textures cover the exhibition space, reflecting and twisting projections from the world inside the headsets. Physically echoing the phenomena explored within.

No Strand is filled with memories that can be found, seen and missed. A completely nonlinear journey allows for the audience to explore at their own pace. The lack of patterns ensures a unique experience for every participant.

Historically, nostalgia was perceived as a clinical illness, particularly affecting soldiers longing for their homeland. This longing was tied to a geographical location, reinforcing the idea that "feeling at home" is linked to the place one grows up. In our increasingly globalized world, however, nostalgia has evolved. It's now recognized as a natural part of the human experience, often seen as reassurance of our ability to belong to specific places or times. As the world has grown increasingly more globalized, the dangers of nostalgia have drifted further away and the boundaries of its definition morphed to encompass a broader range of experiences and subjects.

By attempting to share nostalgia, No Strand seeks to both highlight and expand its fundamental connection to the human experience.