Frans Jacobis bilde
Jane Sverdrupsen

Frans Jacobi

Professor, tidsbaserte medier / performance
Kunstakademiet – Institutt for samtidskunst

Frans Jacobi is a visual artist (b. 1960). Lives and works in Bergen. Jacobi works with performance, installation, text and images. His performances and installations are often large-scale scenarios with multiple participants adressing a range of political and societal issues. Using a kind of urgent aesthetics, the temporality and presence becomes a point in itself.

Since 1982 Jacobi has exhibited and performed at a variety of international art institutions; i.e. Volksbühne/Grüne Salon, Berlin Germany; The Performance Project, New York USA; Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen Norway; Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo Norway; Dak’Art Biennial, Dakar Senegal; Anthology Film Archives, New York USA; Open Performance Festival, Beijing China; Kunsthallen Nikolaj Kirke, Copenhagen Denmark; The Rose Art Museum, Waltham Massachusetts USA; Nationalgalerie in Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin Germany; Århus Kunstmuseum, Århus Denmark; de Appel, Amsterdam; Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart Germany; Museum Fridericianum, Kassel Germany; Louisiana, Humlebæk Denmark.

He has curated exhibitions and art-events at SAK, Svendborg Denmark; HKS, Bergen Norway; Landmark, Bergen Norway; UKS, Oslo Norway; Institut for Nutidskunst, Copenhagen Denmark.

In 2014 Jacobi established the artistic-research project ‘SYNSMASKINEN: 7 fields of contemporary crisis' based at the Faculty of Art, Music & Design at University of Bergen. In 2020 Sætre & Jacobi produced and directed the hybrid tv-series Are You Ready? intending to create discussion and awareness on environmental issues.


Artistic Research projects:

Aesthetics of Resistance 2007-12

Jacobi completed his doctoral research at Malmø Art Academy / Lunds University with the project 'Aesthetics of Resitance' in 2012. Here performance is used as an experimental stage, where various themes of revolt and collectivity are probed and reflected. These performances are structured like an intertwined play of the dual figures 'the artist/researcher' and the 'sense-event'. The book 'Aesthetics of Resistance' was published in 2018 by Space Poetry (Copenhagen) and Revolver Verlag (Berlin)


Synsmaskinen 2014-2019

Synsmaskinen was an artistic research conglomerate based at the Institute of Art at the University of Bergen. Synsmaskinen proposed a multifaceted inquiry into contemporary crises. Through a variety of interrelated artistic projects, a politically-charged horizon came into focus: apocalyptic abysses, systemic entanglements, and hyper-complex realities.

Globalised economy and culture are intertwined, forming a complex knot of overlaps and messy interconnections. Thus, in looking at climate crises one is implicitly confronted with financial crises and social crises. Given the intricacy of such structures, one method for understanding and facing these crises could be to examine certain manifestations and elements of their fallout. In this way, the inscribed objects or phenomena dealt with in the Synsmaskinen projects can be considered symptoms, symbols, contemplations - or perhaps as interventions into the crises themselves.

The name Synsmaskinen is taken from the Danish and Norwegian translations of Paul Virilio’s seminal book on the techniques of perception, La Machine De Vision. This title has inspired the overall structure and methodology of the project. SYN=vision / MASKIN=machine.

In a sense, Synsmaskinen operates as a conglomerate: each production results from different collaborative constellations of a group of international artists, including organisers professor Frans Jacobi, co-artistic-research leader Åse Løvgren, and research assistant Benedicte Clementsen.

Films, artworks, texts and research material available at www.synsmaskinen.net

Synsmaskinen was supported by PKU/NARP and KMD/University of Bergen and Statens Kunstfond Danmark


Are You Ready? 2019-22

"AreYouReady?" is a hybrid TV series by Frans Jacobi and Gitte Sætre that explores the significant changes the world is facing. The series depicts the transformations and changing perspectives of humanity. A dead tree - "The Living Unliving Surveillance Poet" - is the main character who investigates the human world and offers loving advice on how humans can be a part of a greater community of species and beings.

Drawing from the context of the climate crisis, "The Living Unliving" (and the series) discusses the enormous potential for change that has suddenly arisen. In line with the content's boundless seriousness, the target audience is diverse and all-encompassing. The changes affect us all, from high to low, intellectuals, children, youth and the elderly; many different groups and layers of society, both locally and globally.

​By using a dead tree as the famous "outsider's perspective," the series discusses the world's most significant topics with humor, surprises, and a philosophical twinkle in the eye. Each episode concludes with "The Living Unliving" reporting back to the forest and summarizing the peculiarities that humans have come up with. The creators of the series, artists Gitte Sætre and Frans Jacobi play themselves - a confused, privileged couple, aiming to do good, but failing again and again.

​"Are You Ready?" consists of 7 episodes that were produced and published online every full moon throughout the winter of 2020/21 for a dedicated audience who followed the series online. All 7 episodes and background materials of the series are available at: www.areyouready.tv

​The production is supported by: Bergen kommune, Norges Kulturråd, Statens Kunstfond Danmark, Bergen Center for Electronic Arts, NBK, Universitetet i Bergen, Future Diversities, Creative Europe, Fond for Lyd og Bilde

Frans Jacobi's texts have appeared in various magazines a.o. Texte Zur Kunst, Free Berlin, Øjeblikket, MaHKUscript. Journal of Fine Art Research and he has published a number of books at Space Poetry (Copenhagen), Revolver Verlag (Berlin), RSS Press (Copenhagen).

Frans Jacobi was teaching as an associate professor at The Royal Danish Art Academy in Copenhagen from 1994 to 2006. Since 2012 he has been professor in timebased media / performance at Faculty of Art, Music & Design at University of Bergen. He completed his phd ‘Aesthetics of Resitance’ at Malmö Art Academy/Lunds University in 2012. Between 2019 and 2022 he was the Head of the Art Academy at University of Bergen.

Books & published matter:

Hysterisk svæv ind i steds-specifik kollektiv øko-bevidshed, Space Poetry Copenhagen 2022

Aesthetics of Resistance, Space Poetry Copenhagen & Revolver Publishing Berlin 2018

2061 Inmoral Lidos, Space Poetry Copenhagen 2018 (with Synsmaskinen & Discoteca Flaming Star)

Burst, Synsmaskinen Bergen 2016 (with Theis Ørntoft, Frederik Jacobi & Frans Jacobi)

Je chanterai toujours la musique orientale, Space Poetry Copenhagen & Revolver Publishing 2010

Oprørets By, Space Poetry Copenhagen 2010 (with LM Salling)

Edderkopper fra Mars, Space Poetry Copenhagen 2003

Betonhjertet, Space Poetry Copenhagen 2004, CD+booklet

diskrete betroelser, Royal Danish Art Academy Copenhagen 2000 (with Torben Christensen)

imagine, Space Poetry Copenhagen 1996

Vækst, Borgen Copenhagen 1990 (with Terje Dragseth)