This project is comprised of portraits of old, abandoned houses along the coast of Northern Norway and Iceland.
These entropy- ridden houses are first and foremost thought as a visual, aesthetic and emotional experience. I hope to invoke a whisper towards the sublime or perhaps instil cognitive dissonance as an invitation to open up a new layer of interpretation.
The concept of entropy derives from thermodynamics. It usually refers to the idea that everything in the universe moves from order to disorder, and entropy is the measurement of that change. It predicts the gradual ebbing out of the universe as well as the demise of the buildings in this project. The word entropy finds its roots in the Greek entropia, which means "a turning toward" or "transformation."
With the Anthropocene upon us I appreciate that one can still discover places where man and his constructs are humbled by nature, places where mother earth is taking back the building blocks which once was borrowed from her.
As Sontag pointed out all photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another thing’s mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.
I find that each house has its own personality - some are right out depressing or melancholic, others are charming or inspirational despite the fact that they are well on their way back to nature. The majority of these houses have a very strong graphic appeal. I also put emphasis on the surrounding landscape which in most if not all of these photographs would be able to stand alone as an interesting landscape, even without the presence of human constructs. I find solace in these places where nature still dominates - reminding us in a humbling way about our place in the scheme of things.
Through these photographs I attempt to convey the soul of these buildings and the memory of a culture where the reasons for abandonment are very similar. The way of living in these areas have changed radically during the last decades, mainly due to structural changes in the fishery industry, changes in demographics as well as general centralization of industries and other services.
For every house I discover, given that it resonates with my emotions and curiosity in some way, I always try to gather as much background information on the building as possible. For instance, who lived there, their history and the reasons for abandonment - usually by getting in touch with locals, often accompanied with some good old boiled coffee. I remember one such encounter in Lofoten better than others. After a long visit this charming, elderly fellow somehow summarized my project in one short sentence: "houses need people, and people need their house." (Norwegian proverb).
As Gustav Borgersen, art critic in the newspaper Addresseavisen, put it: “Molnes’ project Entropy is an impressive body of work consisting of motifs with strong contrasts, powerful landscapes, the ruins of a house, the sea. […] With the facade facing the landscape, but with an open and vulnerable backside, they could also function as a poetic expression for a more psychologically oriented narrative. Molnes' images open up a wealth of associations.
The combination of natural motifs with traces of man-made objects, not least buildings, is often described in art history as a feature of Romantic art. Here the artists can evoke moods that remind us that man is transitory, but that nature is eternal.
In Molnes’ photographs, we often find the opposite, as in one becoming aware that the house does not fit in.”
An abandoned house is something we as humans can relate to intuitively. However, below the apparent surface of things the motifs in this project strive to instil room for mystery, surprise – surrealism sometimes bordering on the absurd.