Lina Selander

public commissions

Proposal: Memorial sight, Trondheim, Norway
In collaboration with: Studio Nav

Listen: 3'09

22nd of July 2011. 
The attacks that took place in Oslo and on Utøya were, and remain a tragedy and a national trauma to this day - representing a substantial perceptual shift in the Norwegian society. Considered in the context of the place-specific national memorials, Tordenskjoldsparken (site in question) exist as a “non-space” - a place without any direct connection to the event itself. This inherently demands an introduction of narrative to a site which avoids the overbearing presence of trauma and at the same time presents an inauthentic context to respond to. 
The proximity of the event along with the greater discourse of memorial culture and site specificity puts into question Tordenskjoldsparkens particular value, relevance and function.  Presenting a proposal, which avoids an authoritarian monologue in favor of temporality and shifting presence we hope to avoid a static understanding of the task.
Using sound as a central element in our work, the installation can take the form of both presence and absence, oscillating between the monumental and the barely noticeable. As one of the most fundamental forms of interhuman communication it has the potential to transgress the limits of defined language or visual symbols.
The sound work is based on the oldest psalm still in use in Norway and is the first entry in the Norwegian book of psalms. Our intention is to deconstruct its melody before gradually rebuilding it in new combinations. The piece is executed with bass clarinet and elements of voice. It moves in and out of different tones and sounds, traversing between the traditionally Norwegian and tonal expressions formed in Sami, Easter-European and Somali culture. 
By confronting the historically Norwegian - the value structures that have defined much of modern Norwegian society - with the plurality in our current society, we search for an expansion of ideas regarding belonging and participation. The purpose with the psalm is non-religious, instead we see it as a starting point for discussion of place, tradition, nationalism, plurality and tolerance. 
The composition is played once a year, the 22nd of July between 15:25 and 18:27. 3 hours and 9 minutes. From the detonation of the bomb to the arrest.


While sound provides the clearest manifestation of the concept, our proposal additionally consists of subtle permanent markings to the site. The most visible one of these are three extremely thin (12mm) walls, sitting along the perimeter of the grounds to establish a relation between the site and the city.  
While the walls appear as solid, their thinness challenges this reading. This introduces a fragility in the establishment of the space; an illusory complexity which pertains to introduce doubt to the spatial composition. These long white and partially exposed aluminium walls spread and reflect light across the site. While the sun animates the surfaces at day, vertical tubes emit light when the daylight recedes. Further, the large empty surfaces allow the sound to become visible. 
Thee mounted speakers serve as reminders of the sound when absent. With a life expectancy of ten years they are confronted with a time limit - creating a natural re-evaluation of the installation every decade. We therefore view our proposal as something potentially temporal, which allows it to be maintained if so desired. 
The proposal exists as both sound and silence - in which the relation between presence and absence activates the places ongoing work towards memory and the inter-human. A constellation in which the memory of a tragic event and the everyday intersect. 
Sound: Anna Sóley Tryggvadóttir and Shida Shahabi