About the book Wilse. The Humanist and his Lab:

Jacob Nicolai Wilse came to Spydeberg as a pastor in 1768.

He developed the gardens at the rectory to become an important framework for his contributions as a natural scientist,

meteorologist and ecologist.

Today the formal garden has been restored after years of decay and appears very much alike how it was in Wilses's own lifetime.

In these gardens and landscapes Dag Alveng has wandered in the footsteps of Wilse. Here he has taken photographs, and like Wilse, studied weather, seasons and the circles of nature. The photo meditations of Dag Alveng is a homage to Wilse and his andscapes.

With perceptiveness for details, exquisite photographic qualities and technical perfection Dag Alveng sheds light on a unique project dedicated to Nature and Humanism.

The exhibition Humanistens naturlaboratorium

opens in The National Library, Oslo

on June 4, 2015 at 5 pm.

The  art exhibition Wilse - The Humanist and his Lab

opens at Galleri Brandstrup,

on June 4, 2015 at 7 pm.

This project has been supported by:

Fritt Ord, Norsk kulturråd, Norske Fotografers Fond,

Ingrid Lindbäck Langaards Stiftelse, Norsk Fotografisk Fond,

Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond, Nasjonalbiblioteket, 

E-CO Energi AS, Stiftelsen Spydeberg Prestegård og

Spydeberg Prestegårds Venner.

Without the support of the County Authorities of Østfold

this project had not been accomplished.

Introduction to the photographs

Clergyman Jacob Nicolai Wilse (1735-1801) was a uniquely gifted

and inquisitive man. He was a natural scientist, ecologist, meteor-

ologist and linguist. He wrote books, travelled and corresponded

with the philosophers of his day.

At the Spydeberg rectory, Wilse planted a large garden. It was

to be his natural laboratory. Here he investigated plants and the

cycles of nature. I have walked in this garden and made photo-

graphs for many years.

The photographs in this book are meditations on Wilse - and on

nature. I have walked in Wilse's footsteps and, like him, I have stu-

died the seasons, the weather and the landscape. Like him, I have

thought about leaves and moss, flowers and branches. Remembe -

ring the joy that is to be had from our natural, close surroundings

has been like a journey back to the mysteries of childhood.

Professor of geography David Lowenthal has summed it up as


"The landscape is not mine, it belongs to the thirty or more

generations of its inhabitants. And I mean to celebrate not the

landscape alone, but those who have lived in it, shaped it, marked

it, named it, farmed it, tended it, protected it and are buried in it."

This book is a tribute to Jacob Nicolai Wilse.

- Dag Alveng