“Untuned Bell”

A K Dolven (NO)

In 2000, a bell was removed from the bell tower of Oslo City Hall because it was considered to be out of tune. Several years later, A K Dolven integrated the bell into a temporary art installation at Tullinløkka, a small square adjacent to the National Gallery in Oslo. Dolven’s installation raised questions about concepts such as normalcy and difference. The installation also created a new meeting place for the inhabitants of Oslo.

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  • Untuned Bell. Photographer: Vegar Moen
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About the project

About the project

“Untuned Bell”

About the project

After the 1.5-ton bell was removed from the 49-bell carillon in the bell tower of Oslo City Hall, it was returned to its original maker, Naven Bell Foundry. In 2010, A K Dolven obtained permission to use the bell in her temporary art installation at Tullinløkka in Oslo. For three months, the bell was suspended high above the ground from a cable running between two upright steel beams. Passersby were invited to sound the bell by treading on a pedal. Thousands of people did so during the three months the bell was installed.

For a week prior to the opening of the installation, the remaining 48 bells in the carillon were played five times each day in order to welcome the out-of-tune bell back to the city. The carillon music was created especially for Dolven’s project by the composer Rolf Wallin. The composition evolved each day through the inclusion of more and more of the bells. On the day Untuned Bell opened, all the bells in the tower were used to play the whole composition, with the “out-of-tune” bell responding to them from Tullinløkka. Now the bell was ringing alone, it no longer sounded out of tune.

Bells are also used to give warnings and to signal to people to congregate. Tullinløkka was formerly an important gathering place in Oslo and was used for, among other purposes, public meetings and demonstrations. The Untuned Bell project aimed to revive this tradition and to provoke debate about the future of the square. The siting of the project, in a square located centrally in Oslo, also acted as a reminder of rights of common ownership and use over public spaces.

As part of the project, a hoarding was installed at Tullinløkka where passersby could post comments on issues that they considered important and relevant. In this way the project also created a space for the expression of ideas that were “out of tune”, thus communicating the diversity and differences that exist within our society. For the duration of the project, Tullinløkka once again became a place for Oslo’s inhabitants to gather and express their opinions.




Tullinløkka, Oslo


06.05.2010 - 04.06.2010

Producer (URO)

Bo Krister Wallström


Kristine Jærn Pilgaard

Project partner

Norsk kulturråd
Stiftelsen Fritt Ord
Wilkinson Gallery, London


Ansnes as


Trude Mardal


Rolf Wallin


Vegar Sandholt


Gaby Hartel


Asle Gudim / Norconsult
Arne Dolven


Magnus Jorde


Olsen Nauen Klokkestøperi as

Grafisk utforming

Onestarpress / Christoph Boutin


Andreas Hald Oxenvad
Aeron Bergmann


Brekke & Strand Akustikk




Art scheme for outdoor public spaces (URO)

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