Kaleidofon: Rediscover Norwegian music

MIC Norway launches an ingenious new web site dedicated to the exploration of Norwegian music. With its dynamic and organic form Kaleidofon caters to the joy of whimsical exploration and creative learning.

Kaleidofon - åpning

On November 1st a unique multimedia exhibition opened at the National library in Oslo. The presentation marks the inauguration of a new web site entitled Kaleidofon, which constitutes an entirely novel presentation of Norwegian music. The physical expo is a temporary public display of this permanent web-exposition and tool. After three weeks in Oslo the presentation moves on to Bergen where it will be set up at the USF “Culture wharf”.

Kaleidofon is aimed at the common music lover and designed specifically to enable and encourage him or her to discover Norwegian music anew. One of the guiding considerations of the project and its make-up has been to facilitate a different approach to music than people have used before, or experienced so far. “We hope to enable our users to discover and map the musical realm in novel ways”, says Aslak Oppebøen, information executive at MIC and in charge of the project together with Grete Melby

Kaleidofon does not probe deeply into the specifics or obscurities of Norwegian music,” says Oppebøen, “nor is it meant to, since the whole point is to provide an easily accessible and exciting tool for rediscovery and reorientation.”

What is presented is a fragmented but alluring mini-universe of music and information that makes possible a virtual experience of the interconnections and myriad links that exists in, and indeed makes up, the complex entity of Norwegian music. Thus the fragmented nature of the site and the “motional” experience of visiting it is essential, because it means that an element of surprise is infused into the way one comes upon music and artists: the interweaving, organic structure of Kaleidofon means that one can surprise oneself; follow leads normally outside one’s taste or interest and discover genres, expressions, influences and links of which one has been hitherto oblivious.

The site is devised as an abstract visual presentation of a musical landscape constituted by four genres: Popular music, Traditional music, Jazz and Classical /Contemporary. Each genre appears as a tract of some kind of submarine forest through which one may move –such is the imagery; a combination of Dali surrealism and the vistas from out of Nemo’s Nautilus. It is designed by GrandPeople, a Bergen-based bureau. Each genre is represented by a colour which shades that genre’s section of the “seascape” and also recurs in different widgets and symbols underneath which diverse and arbitrary pieces of information and links are hidden. The randomness is part of the organic and unpredictable nature of the site, which is meant to result in an experience of exploration and discovery. The focal point of each genre is a wheel that can be spun in order to choose between the 20 information texts that each genre features. To each written piece a selection of music and video excerpts become available in a designated media player. Thus Kaleidofon is a complex multimedia amalgam that presents music in exactly the way the kaleidoscopic name suggests: a many-sided, “motional” and perchance enchanting experience.

“Exhibiting Norwegian music in such a general way has not been done before,” says MIC director Svein Bjørkås, “and the ingenuity and dynamic that characterises it is something we take pride in.”

The project is meant to be updated and adjusted in accordance with the evolution of its subject matter, and its organic structure will continuously present new approaches, new aspects to discover and new connections to make for the site’s visitors.


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