The film Bjellene fra Ål investigates a rumour about a folk tradition in the small town of Ål in Norway. The film is revolving around a recorded bar conversation between myself and a woman who account for an old folk tradition from the small town of Ål. According to her, the men from Ål are part of a secret society that wander up the surrounding hills at night wearing nothing but a cowbell tied around their genitalia. This is done to attract the women who work and stay at the ’seters’ where the cows graze.
In exhibition contexts, the film has been accompanied by a sculptural installation consisting of a spinning, cowbell that rings every forty seconds as a pendang to the bell sounds of the film.
My interest in this story stems from it’s mysterious, sect-like and ritualistic characteristics which also allude to the patriarchal power structures of more traditional communities. In addition, I am also intrigued in how this sexualised ritual relates to the protestant based self-image of the Norwegian hegemony despite more recent developments such as feminism and equal rights.