The photobook Country.Rock by Morten Andersen is the result of multiple trips to Northern Norway over a period of 3-4 years. The book depicts the harsh climate and the vast untouched terrain of the north, juxtaposed against the region’s small, remote communities.
Andersen takes an unconventional approach to documentary photography, situating the images in Country.Rock against the backdrop of a sci-fi inspired, post-apocalyptic narrative. In Andersen’s imagined future, a catastrophic event has made Europe’s urban population centres uninhabitable. Survivors – most of them young – have migrated north, forging new communities and developing new ways of living. The north is conceived as a refuge from the political and social failures of the past; a blank slate for building a radical, post-capitalist future.
Bleak, snow filled landscapes look mostly untouched by human activity. Occasionally, figures can be seen staring into the vast fog-filled distance, evoking 19th century romantic painting. Elsewhere, pictures of wreckage connect the present with the science-fiction inspired, post-collapse premise.
The deliberately framed, sublime views of nature are contrasted by the spontaneity and energy of Karlsøy Festival in Troms. The island itself has been considered a free haven for radicals, artists and hippies since the 1970s. In these images, people congregate and party under the midnight sun. Here, Andersen invokes the free-spirited, multicultural rock festival as a possible model for a future society. Country.Rock is a book about escaping the political and social failures of our time, but also myths, dreams and nature. The landscape may be bleak and challenging, but there is hope for the future, with beauty and freedom to be found.
Country.Rock is Morten Andersen’s 21st photobook. It is an indirect sequel to Untitled.Cities (2013), which explored alienation and decay in European cities. In contrast to Untitled.Cities the visual storytelling of Country.Rock implies a more optimistic outlook, even in the aftermath of disaster and collapse. - Teknisk Industri