NARVIK—Every year between 160 and 180 children are born in Narvik, a city threatened to become vacated. During the next 5-7 years about 1000 children will be born. All these children will be given a star in the pavement of the new city area. In this way the exclusive is turned into the popular through a local recycling of the "star culture" where every newborn baby will become a star in its own life. Simultaneously the project represents a local mobilization to increase the population of Narvik. The project stretches over several years, and will become a permanent collection. Every year a ceremony is to be held when the new stars are revealed...
Per Gunnar Tverbakk,
Narvik Superstars, Nordland County Council, Bodo, 2004
Artscape Nordland and Narvik City Council commissioned me to carry out a Research & Development phase of the project in 2004. On my first visit it was clear that population growth was a most pressing issue in this small northern town. On the day that I visited the maternity ward, there were only two newborns and one could sense how precious they were, not just for their parents, but for the future and legacy of the whole town. While the town's masculine history of the railroad worker was celebrated through the 'Wild West" style photography in the local bar, this project aimed at equating the masculine labor to that of women, their roles and contribution to the very economy of population growth without which no society can thrive. I was told that this artwork would most certainly give the local hospital and economy a boost as women in the wider region would gravitate to Narvik to give birth, only to have their babies given a star and featured in the work
A prototype was built and shipped over from Los Angeles by the same company that provides the stars for Hollywood's Walk of Fame. With an official approval and blessing by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which administers the Walk of Fame, my stars were to be 75% the original size and all pink. Together with Randi Melgaard, Head of Culture in Narvik, we identified a suitable location on the harborfront due for redevelopment. Narvik's history as an industrial hub for coal transport was already giving way for a modern service society investing in its natural beauty, sports tourism and culture. But due to budget cuts, the project was sadly cancelled in 2006
The proposal remains open and valid for any smaller community in the world which may be interested in boosting its population growth and celebrating its citizens at the very outset of their lives
Randi Melgaard, Head of Culture, Narvik City Council and commissioner of
Narvik Superstars receives the terazzo-and-brass prototype star from Los Angeles in 2004