︎︎︎


Memory Wound: Memorialising the Site of a National Trauma


by Josefin Granetoft







The purpose of memorials is precisely to preserve a memory; living with it enables us to process it. All over the world, memorials have proved to have a healing effect, not just nationally but eventually in the local area. What would happen if we refrained from creating memorials because we were afraid that they might be upsetting? What kind of society would that engender?1



I first learned about Jonas Dahlberg’s proposal for a memorial for the Utøya terror attack during the debate that seemingly pitted an international art elite against the inhabitants of a small, Norwegian community. The design was intended to memorialize and make the trauma of an entire nation felt by making a large-scale cut in the earth. However, because the building plans were stalled indefinitely, the project remains only as an unrealised concept that potentially could have accommodated the loss of the past and the healing process of the present. Simply by taking a look at the design sketches, it is not hard to see why the design was met with both strong praise and opposition. The image of the landmass severed in half makes a brutal impression—it turns the placid waters into a gushing wound that seems to stymie any possibility of reclaiming the former peacefulness of the site. Yet, is not the very idea of moving forward a betrayal of the memory of those who lost their lives? Perhaps an artistic rendering of the trauma, through its infliction of severe but metaphorical pain onto the landscape is all that can come close to approximating the actual loss at this site.

Almost ten years have now passed since the Utøya massacre. On July 22, 2011, the small island located in a Norwegian fjord was attacked by the right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik. Sixty-nine people were killed in the mass shooting, and of them, almost half were under the age of eighteen. The island belongs to the social-democratic youth party known as the Workers’ Youth League (Arbeidernes ungdomsfylking), Norway’s largest political youth organisation, and was used for their annual summer camp. Less than two hours before, a bomb planted by the same terrorist in a car in central Oslo had already taken eight lives, making the death toll in the joint attack a total of seventy-seven.

Only five months later, the Norwegian government announced that they would fund the erection of a memorial for the events of July 22. In charge of the project’s execution was KORO – Public Art Norway (Kunst i offentlege rom), the Norwegian government’s subordinate agency for art in public spaces. After an internationally held competition, KORO selected the winning proposal, which came from Swedish artist Jonas Dahlberg. Titled Memory Wound, Dahlberg’s design consisted of making a giant cut into the Sørbråten peninsula that faces the island of Utøya. The process of building the memorial was, however, put on hold as members of the local community, who were later joined by other critical voices, protested against Dahlberg’s design. After legal proceedings were issued against the Norwegian state, the government ultimately decided to break the contract with Dahlberg and simultaneously withdrew KORO as the agent responsible for commissioning an official national memorial.2 At this point, the debate reached an international level, where it raised wider-reaching questions around the purpose of memorials, public art, and their role in the aftermath of trauma. What does it mean to live with, preserve, and process memory?

In this essay, I ask how Dahlberg’s memorial design intended to deal with the issue of remembrance on a collective and national level. I propose that the memorial site has the potential to establish a temporal link between the past and the present. This temporal aspect of the memorial turns it into a liminal space, which enables memory processes as well as contemporary identity construction.3 Framing my questions within the fields of art history and visual culture, alongside my analysis of Memory Wound, I will examine a small selection of comparable memorials while focusing on the negotiation between site, memorial devices, and the discourse on collective memory and trauma. Drawing conclusions from Dahlberg’s concept sketches and proposal, I will show how the memorial works with temporal and spatially configured meaning while incorporating visual and symbolic elements, which are mediated by the national significance of the traumatic event. Therefore, Memory Wound must be considered as a concept for a memorial site but also, regardless of its unrealised state, as an element of an ongoing memory discourse.


Memory Wound

Jonas Dahlberg’s idea for a memorial after the Utøya attack started from an observation he made at the site. During his inspection, he noted:

[I]t was striking how different the experience was, to be out in nature compared to going through the rooms of the main building. After seeing the empty rooms and the traces of the extreme violence that happened there, I – and many others around me – were left with a feeling of deep sadness. In its current condition, the building firmly holds on to the memory of the terrorist attacks on July 22, 2011. As an open wound.

While the building evoked these feelings, nature seemed to be something completely different. Even though we were right next to the very place where many people had lost their lives, nature had already begun to hide every trace.4



Dahlberg’s design reproduces the gesture of violence inflicted by the terrorist attack on the island. His proposal was to make a large-scale cut in the earth, an act that would create a permanent wound in the landscape and would visualise the pain of Norway’s national trauma. Consisting of a forty-metre-long and three-and-a-half-metre-wide excavation of the Sørbråten peninsula, the cut would have severed the furthest tip of the coastline from the rest of the peninsula with an incision that would start at the top of the headland, slice through the landmass, and end below the waterline.5 This substantial alteration of the landscape would have imprinted the pain of the attack permanently upon the landscape itself, while the negative form of the cut can be understood as a marker of the absence and irreplaceable loss resulting from the attack. 

The proposal also details how visitors would be guided through their experience of the site. First, they would walk for five to ten minutes along a path through the woods (fig. 1), allowing for a moment of slow-paced movement and contemplation. This path would continue from the open space of the woods into a downward-sloping tunnel leading to the cut. Upon reaching the end of the tunnel, visitors would stand in an enclosed space, where they would overlook the vertical stone surface of the opposite edge, which would be inscribed with the names of the deceased.


Jonas Dahlberg Studio

Figure 1, Jonas Dahlberg Studio.



The experience of this space is constructed by a conscious design of movement and visual elements. The walk through the tranquil natural scenery is guided through the tunnel and then comes to a sudden halt at the edge of the cut, creating an interruption of movement. According to Dahlberg, this experience may bring the visitors into a state of reflection through the occurrence of a “poetic rupture or interruption.”6 This interruption, in turn, causes a change in the viewer’s interaction with the surrounding space. The viewer is forced to become still and to focus on the act of looking. This shift converts the environment from a site to be moved across into a still image. In examining the sketches, the enclosed space very much resembles the framing of an image–the image being the names inscribed on the other side (fig. 2).


Figure 2, Jonas Dahlberg Studio.



The placement of the names on the other side of the cut is important. The names are clearly visible for the visitors to read, but because of the separating waters, it would be impossible to physically reach or touch them. The viewing point thus underlines the separation of life and death—or past and present—between us and them. This separation transmits the permanent nature of loss, creating an unbridgeable distance between the viewer and the names of the deceased.

The context of the surrounding forest comprises another framing device, for it functions as a contrasting interpretative element to the experience of the scene. As Dahlberg notes:

Given the area's natural beauty, my concept for the memorial site suggests the importance of the memorial site at Sørbråten offering a marked difference from the physical and narrative experience of other places along Norway's overwhelming landscape. National tourist routes deliver an experience of satisfaction at having reached a spectacular sight or a historic location.7

In contrast to this type of nature experience, he says about the memorial: “[I]t should be difficult to take in the inherent beauty of nature without also experiencing a feeling of loss.”8 As Dahlberg alludes to, the nature of the area is typically associated with tourist or leisure activity—much like Utøya had formerly been associated with summer camp activities. In other words, the experience of nature is associated with pleasure and relaxation. Much in the same way, viewing images of nature—landscapes—and what Dahlberg calls ‘natural beauty,’ is often associated with a pleasure- and satisfaction-seeking gaze. The visual experience at the site is thus guided precisely by the disturbance and disfiguration of nature-as-image, disrupting any form of pleasure or satisfaction from the act of looking.

The placement of the memorial on the peninsula rather than on the island itself fills another purpose in directing the viewer’s gaze. While the decision on the location was made by the governmental committee, Dahlberg notes that he wanted to prevent the island from becoming an object of visual spectacle. By making the cut at the chosen site, he could prevent the peninsula from becoming a vantage point overlooking the island. This, he feared, would make the island itself an object of touristic attraction, a matter of people wanting to catch a glimpse of the media-saturated site.9 Indeed, the memory of Utøya is at risk of being turned into visual spectacle—simply consider the two recent feature films that have been made on the basis of the events.10

While one might object to the “dramatic” visual feature of Memory Wound, too, which surely would have attracted its own touristic attention, it treats the visual drama played out on the site carefully. It is a constant negotiation of the acts of looking, moving, and feeling. Emphasising the negation and separation of those lost in the attack, which is transmitted by a series of disruptions and distortions of the landscape, while making the trauma immediate and permanent, it responds to the complexities of memory itself. As such, the memorial is a space where we may start to consider the difficulties of trauma on a collective level, as well as the intersections between memory, public space, and artistic practice.


Memory and Monumentality

The unrealized Utøya memorial is hardly the first memorial to bring up difficult questions relating to memory and public space. One way of approaching the issue is to consider the functions of memorials as well as the more traditional form of public commemoration: monuments.

In 1986, conceptual artists Ester Shalev-Gerz and Jochen Gerz presented what they called a Gegendenkmal (counter-monument) with their Monument Against Fascism, a work in which they consciously reflected on some of the most pressing issues concerning memory and monumentality. The monument, which had been commissioned by the city of Hamburg, consisted of a twelve-metre-high, one-metre-wide square aluminium pillar shooting up from the ground in a suburban, commercial district of the city. An inscription at the base of the monument invited the public to inscribe their names onto the soft lead surface of the pillar, thereby taking a pledge to remain vigilant against fascism. As more people added their names, the pillar would gradually lower into the ground. By 1993, it had completely sunk into the earth and left nothing visible but the top surface of the memorial. The concept was thus that the pillar be anything but monumental. Instead of producing an everlasting, incorruptible monument, it was purposefully built to be defaced by graffiti and to eventually disappear.11

According to James E. Young, the Monument against Fascism and other counter-monuments in this vein developed as a response to a post-Holocaust preoccupation with the collective experience of loss and absence. Artists and writers had to ask themselves how to formally approach history in an ethical way. As Young poignantly asks: “[H]ow to articulate a void without filling it in? How to formalize an irreparable loss without seeming to repair it?”12 Up until that point, public memorialising projects were predominantly conceived in monumental form, incorporating unifying symbols of the nation and of a common, national history. After the atrocities of the Holocaust, the nationalistic and monolithic nature of these cultural signifiers were increasingly questioned. The traditional monument was deemed authoritarian, complacent and didactically self-serving of the nation-state.13

Simultaneously, the very notions of memory and the public are constantly negotiated. Turning to the historians Aleida and Jan Assmann, we may define memory in the collective sense as the commonly shared body of texts, images, artefacts and rituals, upon which a society shapes and conveys its self-image. These cultural expressions are constantly shifting and thus are specific to a certain society and epoch, while creating a dialogue between historical knowledge and a contemporary awareness of selfhood and identity. In extension, those texts are not just narrating how we look back at a forgotten past, but also form our contemporary self-understanding as a society.14

In this context, a cultural text or object functions as a trigger of memory. Objects naturally do not have a memory themselves, but they can remind us and activate memories that we have consciously or unconsciously invested in them, like Marcel Proust famously notes in the sudden resurfacing of his childhood memories upon eating a piece of madeleine.15 But what if the object not only triggers a memory, but also displaces it? The exteriorising of memory in a material form, Young remarks, may to some extent function as a placeholder for continuing to actively work with and confront the past. In other words, it may relieve us from the burden and obligation to remember at all.16

Ester Shalev-Gerz’ and Jochen Gerz’s Monument against Fascism tackled precisely the issue of memory displacement. Instead of creating a monument for the sake of exteriorising memory, the memorial’s gradual disappearance places the burden of remembrance back on the people. Simultaneously, they shifted from the idea of exteriorising memory in the form of an artefact to spectate upon, to instead creating a site that demanded the local community actively engage with history. Thereby, the work took on process-based, performative, and relational meanings, which were not uniform and sometimes problematic in and of themselves. As would become apparent, the participation of the public would reflect the heterogeneity of Hamburg, as antagonistic and even Nazi-sympathetic expressions appeared as inscriptions on the lead surface of the pillar. While the proliferation of extreme right-wing sentiments was probably not speaking to the artists’ intention or interest, it could, however, be taken as another reminder for the necessity of vigilance against fascism that the artists were indeed calling for. The “counter-monument” thereby functioned as a site inclusionary of the temporal and transitional changes of memory itself, while demanding a continuous self-criticality in its dialectic reflection of contemporary society.

The Memorial as Site

As monumentality gets displaced, the concept of the memorial as a tension-filled site for process-based negotiations and reflections on memory is increasingly favoured. This historically situated development to some extent runs parallel with the expansion of sculptural practice into a spatial and relational field, set in motion by a play between, in opposition to and inclusive of landscape and architecture, respectively. This has given rise to productions that would later be theorised with terms such as ‘marked sites,’ ‘axiomatic structures’ and ‘site-constructions.’17 Although these practices have often sprung out of an opposition to the gallery or institutional art space, this did not necessarily result in artworks placed in a public space. One needs only think of the work of land artists in the ‘60s and ‘70s, such as that of Robert Smithson, who developed a dialectical practice of ‘site’ (non-gallery) and ‘non-site’ (gallery). While countering the confinements of institutional space, many of his and other land artists’ work were located in remote and inaccessible spaces, thus being limited to a narrow audience and heavily indebted to photographic documentation in its reception.18

By contrast, memorials enter a discourse in the form of public artworks or memorial sites, often placed in busy public areas or designated as travelling destinations. The “success” of the work is indeed often dependent upon its ability to engage and effect a change in the spectator onsite. Seemingly paradoxical, Susan Sci claims that memorials must “deritualise and dematerialise remembering” in order for civic engagement to occur. The dematerialisation occurring at the shift from monumental object to memorial site seems to fulfil this demand. Rather than creating an object of worship, we reach a point of reflective and participatory interaction at the formation of the site, which, as is made evident by Monument Against Fascism and in the divergent responses to Memory Wound, can be heterogenous in its individual manifestations. To create any viewer response, the memorial needs to have an impact on the viewer that is both cognitively stimulating and emotionally touching. While the remembering process makes the past visible and affective in the present moment, memorials also “function as entryways into the present through the past.”19 Analogous with Aleida and Jan Assmann’s definition of the significance of cultural memory, this means that the image of the past also creates a change in the self-image of the present viewer and their response to current ideological and cultural norms. By Sci’s definition it thus becomes evidently clear how the memorial site functions as a liminal space: by creating a two-way link between the past and the present.

In the announcement of their search for a memorial design for the Utøya attack, issued by KORO in 2013, the view on memorials as relational and performative sites opposed to static monuments is clearly reflected. The planned memorial is spoken of specifically as a “memorial site” (“minnested”), which is defined as “a site founded to remember and reflect on an event” and which may include a memorial, an artwork, or an architectonic project. This is contrasted with monuments, which, according to their definition, are typically figurative, with a vertical, high-reaching and centralised form to be observed from a distance. They subsequently deem the traditional monument form to be “authoritarian in its form […] manifesting universally accepted historical facts and serving a master narrative.” Memorial sites, on the other hand, are defined as horizontally stretched out sites or spaces, which do not only exhibit an artistic design, but also accommodate human interactions, physical actions and performance of ceremonies or rituals.20

In surveying the marked development of memorial forms in the last fifty years, the memorial with the most obvious and striking resemblance in comparison with Memory Wound must be Maya Lin’s famous Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Washington, D.C. Designed in 1982, the memorial consists of a V-shaped cut in the landscape that creates a negative form expressive of the loss of the war. Thus seeming to respond directly to the question posed by James E. Young, her memorial articulated the loss of a nation without heroizing or redeeming it.21 Instead, her design opened up a negative space to be filled with a continuing process of grieving and memory.22

Much like Dahlberg’s design, the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial creates a wound in the landscape as a metaphor for the violence and pain inflicted by the war. Lin also incorporated a pathway that created a space for spatial and cognitive transitions by allowing visitors to move and interact with the space, while simultaneously transgressing the present moment into the past. For example, inscriptions of the names of the deceased and missing veterans on the edge of the cut, which are placed in alignment with the spectator’s eyes and in reach of their touch, emphasise a proximate link between the present spectator and those lost in the past. As Lin herself describes it, she wanted to create an “initial violence and pain that in time would heal.23 This is also reflected in the actual use of the memorial, as people spontaneously leave gifts by the memorial wall or make personal mementos from the name inscriptions, thus creating a form of individual grief rituals.

By contrast, Dahlberg’s design does not facilitate a proximity with the deceased victims, nor does it provide the ability to heal in the sense of Lin’s memorial. Dahlberg instead treats the proximity between the past and the present in a completely opposite way by creating a rift between the names of the deceased and the present-day spectators. Still, the memorial seeks to transgress the present moment by firmly anchoring the pain and the violence of the past and, by creating a permanent wound that will not fade with the passing of time, the seasonal changes of the landscape, or the forgetfulness of society. In other words, Memory Wound creates a space of tension between the past and the present by insisting on the seemingly impossible state of being separated from the past, yet not being able to move away from it. This tension lends Memory Wound the threshold qualities described by Susan Sci, which I propose be viewed as constituting a liminal space. The individual response to such a painful approach, that insists on sustaining the tensions of trauma and memory rather than seeking to comfort, is inevitably linked to how one narrates the trauma itself and which role one assigns it in the cultural fabric of collective memory. In short: the “success” of the memorial is decided based on how we judge the nature and aftermath of trauma itself.


Conflicting Narratives

There is no doubt that the double attack in 2011 qualifies as a trauma in the collective memory of Norway. As KORO states in their summary of the attack:

The events on the 22nd of July are the worst attack against Norway in peacetime and was immediately met with a unified, national condemnation. All of Norway deprecated the extreme political and ideological views behind the terror attack and agreed that openness, democracy, co-determination, respect and diversity are values that shall continue to characterize Norway in the aftermath of the terrorist attack.24

Ingeborg Hjorth and Line Gjermshusengen, in tracing the national memorial process in the wake of the terror attack, point out some overarching and divergent narratives. As the above quote makes evident, the Utøya killings are generally not viewed as an isolated event, but as an attack on the nation as a whole. In this narrative, there is a formation of a Norwegian collective that was made victim of a brutal act of terror. The terrorist himself, Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, is commonly painted as a lone perpetrator or abstracted as a generic dark force such as “the evil,” “the hatred” or “the cruelty”. Against this enemy of democracy, the general public of Norway has to come together as a united collective.26

The earliest civic, spontaneous responses were followed by the establishment of what Hjorth and Gjermshusengen call a ‘progressive’ narrativization of trauma. According to this narrative, the initial shock is subsequently turned into a hopeful and future-oriented approach, concentrating on the re-building of community and the re-establishment of positive values. This is contrasted with a ‘tragic’ narrative, which treats trauma as unfinished and persistent, offering no sense of meaning or ability to heal from the event. As in the case of the classical tragedy, we are instead offered the possibility of catharsis—a form of release followed by repeatedly recalling the source of pain. This narrative presumes that we are not just sympathisers with the victims, but that we also hold some moral guilt regarding what happened.27

Considering the focus on the meanings of loss, absence and inseparable distance in the memorial design on the Sørbråten peninsula, Dahlberg’s design most clearly subscribes to a tragic narrative of trauma. “It should hurt a little, since we are all part of what happened. We are all guilty,”28 Dahlberg has stated in an interview commenting on his work, connecting the tragic element of the permanent wound to a political dimension, but also the moral implication of guilt. He thus seems to ask for an emotional response very much in the form of catharsis, insisting on the continuous, re-lived experience of painful loss. This may be viewed as a path to accepting a collective guilt instead of pointing at Breivik as a lone actor. Facing up to the existence of right-wing extremism brewing under the surface of a society that generally prides itself on its egalitarianism and progressiveness, is, in my opinion, evidently urgent. This would indeed enable the memorial to function, in Susan Sci’s words again, as an “[entryway] into the present through the past.” To use past trauma as an optical lens through which to view the present would give us the capacity to see and scrutinize the forces of right-wing extremism as a part of current European societies, rather than an anomaly of liberal democracies.

Still, one might wonder if it is sensible for a society to grapple with trauma by framing it as a tragedy. In stark contrast to the participatory element of Monument Against Fascism, the work does not urge us to respond by direct or political action. Nor does it ask, in following a ‘progressive narrative,’ to use the awareness of the past as a way to rebuild and strengthen future communities.

There is, however, a second part of the memorial proposal that has not been given nearly as much attention as the primary site. Although I will only briefly discuss it here, this second aspect of the proposal expands the meaning of the cut into the earth. The second part is a concept for an additional memorial site—also assigned in the competition from KORO—in the government district of Oslo. The reason this has not been covered as much in the media or literature could be that the site was still under development when the contracts with KORO and Jonas Dahlberg were terminated by the Norwegian government.29 While the first, accepted draft and the later, redeveloped concept differ quite significantly,30 the common idea was to take the excavated landmass from the Sørbråten peninsula and bring it to the capital centre. There, it would be used to construct a temporary and permanent memorial site, both incorporating the natural stone material as well as the names of the terror victims.

Dahlberg describes his impulse for developing the memorial site in the government district as stemming from a desire to counteract the effects of terror on society, which often has the consequence that it is “not just national borders that risk being closed, but also buildings, sites and even people.” Instead, he wanted to contribute to creating openness, life, and movement in the area.31 Although he also says that it might not have been practically possible to use the landmass taken from Sørbråten,32 the concept remains more or less intact as a counter-gesture of Memory Wound. The void of the cut at the first site would not be doubly negated; instead, the indexical relationship with the new site could be seen as generating a new meaning of re-generation and progression. The gesture of wounding the landscape could thus be seen in parallel with Maya Lin’s memorial—making a cut that will eventually facilitate healing—while still insisting on the permanence of the loss and its consequences for society. Given that the terror attack is so closely linked to the site on Utøya, the significance of scarring and transforming the proximate site on the Sørbråten peninsula in my view still carries more conceptual weight than the proposal for the government district. For those angered by the design on the Sørbråten peninsula, the fact that the memorial concept for the governmental district in Oslo creates a different narrative of trauma hardly offered a solution. Yet, as an artistic response to the terror attack, it does point to an effort to respond to different narratives and needs after the events on July 22.


Final Remarks: Memorialising (the Site of) a National Trauma

While the significance of the Utøya terror attack as a national trauma is largely uncontested, the particular narratives around the event are shaped by an array of cultural texts, including the unrealised memorial proposal Memory Wound by Jonas Dahlberg. The fact that the building plans were cancelled and the responsibility of coming up with a memorial design was removed from KORO, Norway’s governmental agency for art in public spaces, could be seen as a failure on the part of artistic practice and public art agents contributing to the discursive formation of a collective memory process. However, in my opinion, the fact that the memorial did not convince the entire local and national public should not be seen as a failure of the artistic design or the public art agency. The conflict around the memorial rather points at the extreme complexities of these issues.

In proposing to create a physical wound at the site of trauma, Jonas Dahlberg wanted to make the traumatic past permanently and perceptually present at the site. The design is conceptualized as a site where tensions between the past and the present are activated, creating a space for remembering as well as reflecting on the significance of the past in relationship to the present and the future. As such, it potentially could have been a space of painful but politically urgent reflection, laying bare the scarring of a society needing to grapple with right-wing extremist forces rather than covering them up under the surface of a progressive democracy.

Even though it was never built, the unrealized design inscribes itself into the public memory discourse. In fact, the unrealized state of the memorial reminds us yet again that memory is constructed by more than bricks and stones. The building plans may have been stopped, but due to the same forces essential questions around the collective responses to trauma, grief and memory have been thrust into the public. As James E. Young convincingly suggests, “the best way to save the monument, if it’s worth saving at all, is to enlarge its life and texture to include its genesis in historical time, the activity that brings a monument into being, the debates surrounding its origins, its production, its reception, and its life in the mind.”33 Similarly, Dahlberg states in response to the Norwegian government’s decision to cancel the building plans of Memory Wound: “I believe that the purpose of a national memorial is to honour those who lost their lives by insisting on a continued common dialogue about the events in question. I also believe that the conversation in itself, even if occasionally unpleasant, is what will work to process the trauma in the long term.”34 Countering the idea of the monolithic and the monumental, we should perhaps not only treat the memorial as a physical site, but also consider it to be a space for a continued discussion on what, why, and how we remember as a society. By including the ambiguous, unfinished, and transitional states of memory, we can understand the memorial as a starting point for continually re-assessing and re-establishing (counter-)narratives around past atrocities as well as the present day.


Josefin Granetoft studied Art History and Visual Studies at Lund University (SE) and is currently completing her MA in Art History at Freie Universität in Berlin. Her current academic focus is on art in public space, performance and participatory practices. 


1 Open letter re-published in e-flux in October 2016 signed by an international group of art professionals, in defence of Jonas Dahlberg’s memorial design, Memory Wound. e-flux, “Artists and curators from around the world defend Dahlberg’s Memory Wound,” October 21, 2016, https://conversations.e-flux.com/t/artists-and-curators-from-around-the-world-defend-dahlbergs-memory-wound/5094.

2 A summary of the competition process, including key developments, documents and actors have been issued by KORO as a factsheet: KORO, Fakta: Minnesteder etter 22. juli (Oslo, 2016), https://koro.no/content/uploads/2016/09/Fakta_Minnesteder.pdf.

3 I am here using the notion of liminality loosely referring to its meaning in Latin, as a threshold space. Specifically, my understanding of the liminal is used to investigate how the memorial divides and brings together distinct temporalities of memory – past and present.

4 KORO, Vinnerutkast: Jonas Dahlberg (Oslo, 2015), 4, https://koro.no/content/uploads/2015/12/Minnesteder-Jonas-Dahlberg.pdf; my translation.

5 All following descriptions of the memorial design are based on the competition draft issued by KORO, Vinnerutkast: Jonas Dalberg and the filmNotes on a Memorial, produced by Jonas Dahlberg, 2018, single channel video with sound, 27:55, https://vimeo.com/396910730.

6 KORO, Vinnerutkast, 4.

7 KORO, Vinnerutkast, 4.

8 KORO, Vinnerutkast, 4.

9 Sanna Samuelsson,”Jonas Dahlberg”, Konstnären 3 (2015): 14.

10 Utøya: July 22 (2018), directed by Erik Poppe and competing in the 68th annual Berlin International Film Festival; 22 July (2018), directed by Paul Greengrass and released on Netflix.

11 James E. Young, “The Counter-Monument,” Critical Inquiry 18, no. 2 (Winter 1992): 272 ff.

12 Young, “The Memorial’s Arc,” Memory Studies 9, no. 3 (July 2016): 326.

13 Young, “The Memorial’s Arc,” 330.

14 This particular body of texts is defined as “cultural memory”. Jan Assmann, “Collective Memory and Cultural Identity,” New German Critique, no. 65 (Spring – Summer 1995): 132.

15 Assmann, “Communicative and Cultural Memory,” in Cultural Memory Studies, ed. Astrid Erll & Ansgar Nünning, (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2008), 111.

16 Young, “The Counter-Monument,” 273.

17 Quentin Stevens, “Nothing More Than Feelings,” Architectural Theory Review 14, no. 2 (2009): 159; Rosalind Krauss, ”Sculpture in the Expanded Field,” October 8 (Spring 1979): 38.

18 Jane Rendell, Art and Architecture (London: IB Tauris, 2012), 23–40.

19 Susan Sci, “(Re)thinking the Memorial as a Place of Aesthetic Negotiation,” Culture, Theory & Critique 50, no. 1 (2009): 43.

20 KORO, Kunstplan for minnesteder etter 22. Juli (Oslo, 2013), 13, https://koro.no/content/uploads/2015/12/Minnesteder-Kunstplan.pdf; my translation.

21 Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial is Young’s prime example of what he calls negative-form memorials, which “broke the mold that made Holocaust counter-memorials and other negative-form memorials possible.” Young, “The Memorial’s Arc”, p. 325.

22 Young, “The Memorial’s Arc,” 327.

23 Maya Lin, Boundaries (London: Simon & Schuster, 2000), 4:10.

24 KORO, Kunstplan for minnesteder etter 22. juli, 7.

25 Hjorth and Gjermshusengen, ”Et minne i bevegelse."

26 Hjorth and Gjermshusengen, ”Et minne i bevegelse," 8.

27 Hjorth and Gjermshusengen, ”Et minne i bevegelse,” 11.

28 Samuelsson, ”Jonas Dahlberg,” 16; my translation.

29 Dahlberg, Notes on a Memorial.

30 Comparing the description from KORO’s document Vinnerutkast and the film Notes on a Memorial.

31 Dahlberg, Notes on a Memorial.

32 Dahlberg, Notes on a Memorial.

33 Young, “The Memorial’s Arc,” 330.

34 Written statement issued on Jonas Dahlberg’s website, “Fjällbacka, Sunday June 25 2017”, http://www.jonasdahlberg.com/comment-june-25-2017.html.


Journal der Freien Universität Berlin
Berlin 2020