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PSA at FOKUS Video Art Festival 2019 [transcript]

During AWARDSHOW: FOKUS Video Art Festival 2019 at Hofteateret, 03/19, whilst presenting the film “I Wanna Write You Love Songs”. 

“A short public service announcement!

Recently in Norway there has been controversy surrounding the play “Ways of Seeing” at the Black Box theather in Oslo. This has been in regards to the “illegal” video recordings showing the house facade of Minister of Justice Tor Mikkel Wara’s residence. Public outcry and national attention has led to death threats to the artists, threats of defunding (and, in effect, killing) the Black Box theater as an institution, as well as vandalism wreaked upon the house and car of the Minister of Justice. Prime minister Erna Solberg has even gone so far as to speculate a direct relation between the play and the latter crimes against her governemnt fellow.

However, most of the art community in Norway, and now the general public, knows this is not the narrative it seems to be. For the play wasn’t really a controversy at all before a number of discussions erupted through the channels of far-right media outlets, mostly by people who hadn’t actually ever seen the play and spearheaded by the girlfriend of Tor Mikkel Wara, Anna Cecilie Bertheussen. Subsequently she’s now been arrested by the police and is on trial for fabricating the vandalism on Wara’s property. As a result, the Minister of Justice has stepped down from his position, yet the scenario still points toward a conspiracy that has had pedallers far inside the power-wielding machinations of state governemnt. It also illuminates that there are figures who have a wish for censorship of institutional critique and criticism aimed at those in power.

This government also publicly admires the Danish system of recent years, which also carries similar interests and leniences. So I’m, first and foremost, addressing you as democratic citizens: this is a case that shows the threat against art and public speech, and it’s a story that should be spread further on in the hopes of not being fooled in similar circumstances, for these are - as a matter of fact - fascist methods.

Enjoy the film.”

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