Wrap arts centre is both a production space, a venue and a constantly evolving recipe for artistic empowerment and interdisciplinary collaboration. The space is located at Møllendalsveien 58 in Bergen, where it is has been based since 2009 (previously Ibsensgate 31 between 2003 - 2009). The project is developed and run by the artist/curator duo, History Disposal Unit, on freelance terms. It is dedicated to improving and nurturing the conditions for independent interdisciplinary art production and dissemination in Bergen and the region of Vestlandet (Norway). The project currently does this through provision of the following services:

• Flexible project spaces.

• Specialist workshops and studios with industry standard tools and equipment.

• Carefully formulated, inclusive platforms presenting a varied program targeting broad audiences.

• Technical advice and assistance.

Production spaces and tools are provided on a project (non-permanent) basis at subsidised rates that reflect Wrap’s underlying principles of inclusivity and accessibility. No artist or group of artists has prioritised access to a particular space or equipment. All the facilities at Wrap can be made available to anyone with a relevant professional background who needs them.

As a project dedicated to independent professional artists, Wrap is entirely staffed by freelancers, enabling artists, producers and technicians to supplement their income while contributing to an inspiring and supportive community.


A balance between autonomy and community

Wrap places an emphasis on the autonomy of individual productions and artists. There is no membership, no restrictions on working times and no requirement to share work or credit Wrap in any specific way unless agreed upon in particular situations.

Although autonomy is important to all artists on some level, we also feel that the importance of collaboration, knowledge sharing and community is profound. History Disposal Unit takes full advantage of Wrap’s position as a regional hub at the centre of many interdisciplinary collaborations and a far-reaching network, to design and implement projects that focus on the development of an inspiring community and encourage cross-pollination of ideas.

Large-scale collaborative projects with an emphasis on co-authorship/assemblage spanning multiple phases, such as Kunstikit (2011-2012) and Speaker Park (2019 - present day) highlight the thoroughness and attention to detail that is characteristic of this duo’s work. Recurring projects such as Sonisk Selskap and Audioglimt challenge artists from different disciplines and backgrounds to work together through improvisation and/or scores, within a set framework. These frameworks provide a context that is both inspiring for artists and relevant for audiences. The results can be experienced as live events and as video publications online.


Flexible arena for sharing art with audiences

Wrap is also a natural choice of arena for certain artists to show their work. History Disposal Unit has developed conceptual frameworks that address this interest, seeking to provide the best solutions both for artists and audiences. Plastic Arena is a framework that empowers artists to present work on optimal terms with maximum control over the setting. Wrap offers these artists thorough technical and organisational support, as well as other optional advice, drawing on our extensive expertise. Søndagskrydder is a series of eclectic Sunday matiné events that bring together food, talks, music, visual and performing arts, providing an established setting where artists can show their work without the need for long term planing.


Knowledge hub

As a project without fixed employees, Wrap is committed to providing opportunities for artists, technicians and other workers within the art field, and to sharing knowledge and developing connections within this workforce.

History Disposal Unit creates projects that strive to bring together new collaborations, and build connections between different artists and disciplines. This reflects our commitment to the growth and encouragement of a diverse, resourceful and inspiring independent arts scene.

Wrap’s success is in large part due to the high level of technical and organisational/administrative expertise within History Disposal Unit. Wrap began a technical internship/trainee program in 2020, and hopes to expand this to an incubator program with an even more substantial reach through extensive collaboration with other institutions.       


Inclusive and diverse

Wrap was inspired and informed by the early experiences of Leo Preston and Veronica Thorseth (History Disposal Unit) who both have a background in the performing arts. As such the project has always had a clear relevance for myriad forms of theatre and dance projects. Artists from other fields such as music and visual art also depend on the unique opportunities that Wrap provides for working on a particularly large scale, and as the project has evolved, we have striven to nurture this diversity. Embracing artists from different genres and disciplines is an important part of Wrap’s ethos.

Although Wrap is specifically dedicated to professional artists and/or projects, it is crucial to us that we don’t discriminate between genres or approaches to the artistic process.

The independent arts scene in Norway has its own unique set of structures and values that has given rise to many experimental forms of collaboration, production and organisation. As an artist-run project, Wrap is both a product of this unique situation, and an active force of influence within it.

In contrast to artist-led organisations where decision making emphasises the democratic involvement of members, Wrap is curated and developed by History Disposal Unit, referring to a wide network of artists, technicians and institutions on consideration of important decisions. This ensures a conceptual continuity that emphasises the importance of flexibility and professionally while serving an unusually wide user-base that is not limited to any membership. We are constantly evaluating and developing our house rules, and the way they are communicated, in order to emphasis the importance of fairness, equality and respect, particularly in Wrap’s shared spaces.


Circular economy and environmental awareness

Shared resources and circular economics are the basis of Wrap’s existence. We meticulously and systematically recycle materials, left-overs and other resources on a large scale. This is possible due to the wide reach of the project, the number of ambitious interdisciplinary projects that pass through Wrap, and a steadfast personal commitment.

Many renovations, expansions and improvements at Wrap have implemented re-used materials salvaged from demolition sites and other venues. This includes insulation, network infrastructure, lighting, doors and more. We are passionate about fixing things rather than replacing them.

We respect artists autonomy and individual approaches to the materials they use at Wrap, while explicitly demanding the consideration of environmental implications of materials used in all History Disposal Units projects (such as Speaker Park and Wrap Satellite). We hope to set an inspiring example through inventive and strongly artistic projects that are clearly informed by an environmental awareness and responsibility.

Wrap strives to use cleaning products that are specifically formulated with respect for the environment. Due to various economic and practical issues, there are times in any given year where we are momentarily unable to sustain this priority..


Accolades

2023 Wrap was awarded Bergen Theatre Society's Pernille Statuette.

2016 Veronica Thorseth & Leo Preston were awarded Bergen City Council's Culture Prize for their work with Wrap.

2007 Wrap was nominated for Bergens Tidene (Bergen Times newspaper) Ildsjelprisen under the category "framsyn" (forward thinking/looking).