Landscape intervention by Jonas Dahlberg to
honour Norwegian terrorist attack victims

| 12 comments
 

The 77 individuals who lost their lives during the 2011 terrorist attacks in Norway will be commemorated by this competition-winning intervention by Swedish artist Jonas Dahlberg to sever a strip of headland from the coastline near Oslo.

Landscape intervention by Jonas Dahlberg to honour Norwegian terrorist attack victims

Jonas Dahlberg plans to pay tribute to victims by creating "a wound or a cut within the landscape" that will symbolise the feeling of loss created by the events of 22 July, which included the bombing of a government quarter in Oslo and the shootings that followed on the nearby island of Utøya.

Landscape intervention by Jonas Dahlberg to honour Norwegian terrorist attack victims

The artist plans to make a 3.5 metre-wide slice between the surface of the landscape and the waterline in the Norwegian village of Sørbråten - just across the water from Utøya - effectively making it impossible to reach the end of the headland on foot.

Landscape intervention by Jonas Dahlberg to honour Norwegian terrorist attack victims

"My concept for the Memorial Sørbråten proposes a wound or a cut within nature itself," explained Dahlberg in his competition text. "It reproduces the physical experience of taking away, reflecting the abrupt and permanent loss of those who died."

Landscape intervention by Jonas Dahlberg to honour Norwegian terrorist attack victims

A five-minute trail will lead visitors across the landscape towards the memorial. This pathway will become a tunnel, arriving at a cutaway that faces across the water towards a stone wall inscribed with the names of the victims.

Landscape intervention by Jonas Dahlberg to honour Norwegian terrorist attack victims

"The names will be close enough to see and read clearly, yet ultimately out of reach," said the artist. "This experience hopes to bring visitors to a state of reflection through a poetic rupture or interruption. It should be difficult to see the inherent beauty of the natural setting, without also experiencing a sense of loss."

Landscape intervention by Jonas Dahlberg to honour Norwegian terrorist attack victims

Dahlberg also plans to use the excavated material to build a second memorial at the government quarter in Oslo, forging a connection between the two sites to reference the connection between the two attacks.

Landscape intervention by Jonas Dahlberg to honour Norwegian terrorist attack victims
Excavated soil and stone used to create another memorial in Oslo

The various trees and plants removed to create the pathway at Sørbråten will form an artificial landscape in Oslo, creating a sunken walkway with tiered seating along one side. Meanwhile, the leftover stone will be used to construct an amphitheatre.

Landscape intervention by Jonas Dahlberg to honour Norwegian terrorist attack victims

Here's the full announcement from the July 22 Memorials organisation:


Swedish artist Jonas Dahlberg to design July 22 Memorial sites in Norway

Director of KORO/Public Art Norway Svein Bjørkås announced the jury's evaluation of submissions and final decision in the closed competition July 22 Memorial sites. The jury's decision was unanimous, voting Swedish artist Jonas Dahlberg as winner of the competition.

Landscape intervention by Jonas Dahlberg to honour Norwegian terrorist attack victims

Dahlberg's concept takes the site at Sørbråten as its point of departure. Here he proposes a wound or a cut within the landscape itself to recreate the physical experience of something being taken away, and to reflect the abrupt and permanent loss of those who died on Utøya. The cut will be a three-and-a-half-metre wide excavation running from the top of the headland at the Sørbråten site to below the waterline and extending to each side. This gap in the landscape will make it impossible to reach the end of the headland.

The material excavated from the cut at Sørbråten will be used to build the foundation for the temporary memorial at the Government Quarter in Oslo, and will also subsequently serve as the foundation for the permanent memorial there.

Landscape intervention by Jonas Dahlberg to honour Norwegian terrorist attack victims

From the Jury's evaluation of Jonas Dahlberg's proposal:

Jonas Dahlberg's proposal takes the emptiness and traces of the tragic events of 22 July as its starting point. His suggestion for the Sørbråten site is to make a physical incision into the landscape, which can be seen as a symbolic wound. Part of the headland will be removed and visitors will not be able to touch the names of those killed, as these will be engraved into the wall on the other side of the slice out of nature. The void that is created evokes the sense of sudden loss combined with the long-term missing and remembrance of those who perished.

Landscape intervention by Jonas Dahlberg to honour Norwegian terrorist attack victims

Dahlberg has proposed to move the landmass taken out of the rocky landscape at Sørbråten to the permanent and temporary memorial site in the Government Quarter in Oslo. By using this landmass to create a temporary memorial pathway between Grubbegata and the Deichmanske Library, a connection is forged between the memorial sites at Sørbråten and the Government Quarter. The names of those killed will be recorded on a wall that runs alongside the pathway.

The proposed permanent memorial site in Oslo takes the form of an amphitheatre around Høyblokka. Dahlberg also proposes to use trees taken from Sørbråten in this urban environment to maintain the relationship between the memorial sites in the capital and to the victims of the atrocities at Utøya.

Landscape intervention by Jonas Dahlberg to honour Norwegian terrorist attack victims

The Jury considers Dahlberg's proposal for Sørbråten as artistically highly original and interesting. It is capable of conveying and confronting the trauma and loss that the 22 July events resulted in in a daring way. The proposal is radical and brave, and evokes the tragic events in a physical and direct manner.

  • mike

    I’m so sorry. To me this embodies so much that is wrong with the negative effect that human, concept based, action has on environments (city or country). A beautiful poignant rendering, sure. but to treat the land and it’s animal inhabitants as if their real scars are just a mirror of our own is a shame. Can we express our grief in a way that really does connect us to our world?

  • Jacob

    The landscape isn’t responsable for the death of these poor people. Please, leave him alone.

  • Fryg

    Really like this project.

  • Trent

    I’m starting to think that these ‘stylized memorials’ are becoming more and more about the ‘coolness’ or edginess of the design than about anything else. People should be able to express grief in a more natural, non designer-y kind of way. In other words, memorials shouldn’t be a big business opportunity for architects, hungry to impress, to get attention. Everything in this world does not need to be meticulously thought out and designed.

    • amsam

      Hm, I feel you Trent, but at the same time show me a big civic memorial of a war or tragedy anywhere in the world that at the time it was built wasn’t also “a big business opportunity for architects, hungry to impress, to get attention. I’m afraid it’s a built-in paradox of the form.

    • Romain_M

      Have you seen Etienne Louis-Boullée’s “Cénotaphe à Newton”? While only a project delineation, it just goes to show that architects tend to memorialise themselves rather than the purported victims/heroes/luminaries.

  • Logan Hendricks

    This is really beautiful and poetic.

  • pipo

    I don’t think this project has much of a negative impact on the environment or animal world. Or at least a lot less than one mile of freeway. To me it is a good and poetic visual metaphor for a society who had a part of their population ‘amputated’ by a madman.

  • Francino

    Another Vietnam War Memorial spawn.

  • ampalmer

    Memorials need to say a lot, without saying anything. I think this is a fabulous embodiment of this philosophy. Nature interrupted. Everyday expectations completely severed by a sudden, incomprehensible shattering of the landscape. Perfect.

  • Hope

    I love the design of splitting off the life and the feeling of existence combined with the sense of loss. It is beautiful, with the juxtaposition of natural organic forms and rigid geometry.

    For me the second part of the design is logical but perhaps not quite as moving, perhaps a little forced, possibly because it is more of an “expected” type of memorial.

    It is “logical” because it reuses the material that was removed to create the wound. I am afraid I am being critical with no alternative solutions.

    • Naomi

      There is a place for public art and design, as much in tragedy as in the celebration of life and creation. Creative metaphor, poetry and visual works that inspire emotion can actually help us to reconnect with our fundamental nature, which in turn can dialogue with landscape.