Opening of Boris Gleb Bar
|Wednesday 12th Feb|
In the summer of ’65, at the height of the cold war, there popped up a bar where Norwegians and Russians could meet. In the winter of 2020, a new pop-up bar will spring to life, a festival hangout that will capture the same fraternity of peoples.
For fifty-nine intoxicating days in 1965, the original Boris Gleb bar served up vodka, propaganda and possibly a little espionage to curious Norwegians. The small visa-free enclave where the bar stood was a crack in the iron curtain, where the chill of east-west tensions thawed to the sound of live music and dancing.
It wasn’t only cheap booze that drew more than four-thousand visitors through the now overgrown boom gates at Boris Gleb. The restaurant, cinema, art exhibition and tour of the newly completed hydro-electric station made for a wholesome Soviet day out.
The blossoming cross-border friendship was not to last. As a chill wind of scepticism blew from the west, the Norwegian authorities moved quickly to ban the visa-free program, bringing to an end this curious time in border history.
Opening night with:
Kirkenes’ own «Gruppa Krovi» is a five-piece band of Norwegian rockers who honour the timeless anthems of Viktor Tsoi and Kino. The Kirkenes locals have toured north-west Russia, connecting with enthralled crowds through a shared love of iconic Soviet-Russian rock music.
«Shish da Malina» is the most eccentric musical duo north of the Arctic Circle. With lyrics from Soviet times, they play songs transformed into the sounds of our time. Texts from the suburbs and the apartment blocks — simple, fun, naïve and innocent. Stories of people who love, believe, live, work and die with all their heart. A morsel of painless reflection about what once was and what deserves to be remembered; with a pinch of rock-n-roll and robust love.
Boris Gleb Bar is designed in collaboration with Transborder Studio, an architecture practice based in Oslo. This is the second time Transborder Studio has re-made the bar from Boris Gleb, the first time was their contribution to the Oslo Architecture Triennale (2016). The team at Transborder Studio has, through the art and architecture gallery 0047, worked with Pikene på Broen and co-curated the multi-disiplinary project Pan-Barentz (2008-2010).