The Partisan Café

Conceived by Nora Sternfeld in collaboration with artist Isa Rosenberger and artist and educator Jenny Moore.

The Partisan Café was an educational/performative/artistic practice as a coffee house at the centre of The Museum of Burning Questions, located in the occupied former fire station, and was conceived by Nora Sternfeld of freethought with Jenny Moore and designed by artist Isa Rosenberger in collaboration with architect Heidi Pretterhofer. The Museum of Burning Questions was a space to think and debate – with the Partisan Café as its central contact zone. The Museum of Burning Questions had a starting point in the history of fires in Bergen, yet situated itself in broader discourses about infrastructures.  It was conceived by Nora Sternfeld, Isa Rosenberger and the Retired Firemen of Bergen.

The title ‘Partisan Café’ is related to a choice: partisan instead of participation. It borrows directly from “the Partisan Coffee House” – a space for gatherings, conversation and debate in London Soho in the late 1950s, organised by the New Left.


During the five weeks of Bergen Assembly 2016 (1 September – 1 October 2016), the Partisan Café hosted a programme of events, discussions, screenings and music to explore the political, urban and cultural dimensions of our infrastructural condition. The programme is curated by freethought in collaboration with Brandon LaBelle, artist and Professor in New Media at Bergen Academy of Art and Design, and will follow four strands:

Curated by Brandon LaBelle

The Imaginary Republic looked at questions of public life and civic culture in today’s European environment, and how economic, social and political unrest over the last 10 years have led to an intensification of grass-roots initiatives, artistic activism, and forms of public commoning. The project positioned itself as a creative and critical dialogue within this context, and aimed to investigate strategies and formations of dissident imagination – a thinking and doing beyond.

Curated by Louis Moreno

What does citizenship and the right to the city mean in the early 21st Century ? This strand asked is the realm of infrastructure simply the extending space of economic domination and technocratic expertise, or does it contain within it the possibility for ‘amateurs’  to confront and overcome the cultural logic of neoliberalism and financialisation ?

Curated by Nora Sternfeld

This strand considered the tables and worlds between us, curating and institutions as assemblies and about how to come together and disassemble from within.

Curated by Louis Moreno

How do we perceive infrastructure? In this strand we sought to go beyond the visual spectrum to think about how music and sound open up a different sense of what defines our infrastructural condition.