By Ingrid Katrine Amundsen
KEYWORDS: THE PAST • OCCUPATION • STREET ART
"THERE are people who have so little to them, no matter how strongly they may feel it, do not dare to say that it blows a cold wind, if they have not already heard others say it" (Lichtenberg 1798).
July 3, 2016, I sat on my balcony; a sunny evening, in company with an old friend. Suddenly we discovered that we simultaneously had been sharing similar concerns: we were analyzing how the contemporary conflict situation in the world resembels the violent populism that took root during the interwar period. A couple of days later another friend lured me into the forest to discover how street art such as; graffiti, also can be found at more rural locations, or in this case; at the outskirts of the urban area in Oslo. Out in the woods we crept through two fences and entered an area that during World War II had been used as a military camp by Nazis. Thoughts of conflict and war beat upon me as we crawled through the fences, and gave me a disturbing gust of a troubled past in Oslo, and in the world. During short time we however experienced that street artists had covered walls, windows and doors with beautiful art. On several walls the Norwegianized nick; "Chois", in Norwegian phonetically alike the English word; "Choice", appeared. Just as in the interwar period, we do have a choice: war or peace. Though, times of tension, turmoil and populism are extremely complex! The beautiful art that covered the buildings, however, filled me with a feeling of inner calm and peace: the forest and the artists had acclaimed the former Nazi occupied area. As we were leaving the decayed military camp we soon discovered that my friend's dog had been bitten by a viper! We got in a sudden hurry to leave the fenced area. The feeling of walking around at an abandoned Nazi military camp suddenly became intrusive. Thoughts of a troubled dark past of occupation made me worried:
The past can bite like a snake!