Review

A Place Remembered

The Forgotten Town reveals the essence of a place – in the memory of it. Places in memory are not immediately accessible, for even when indelibly inscribed in our consciousness they are not as easily recalled as memories prompted by pictures in a photo album. We have never been in  places remembered in a way that allows them to be part of a narrative of our lives. Remembered places evade the inevitable course of time. In a state of remembrance we happen upon places that we have never seen – until they are remembered, often in a dream-like image.

Remembrance leads us to places like those in Greek mythology; places that open onto paths leading down to the underworld, paths that lead us to a dream world that our wakeful lives overlook and forget. The Forgotten Town is such a place.

In our everyday lives we are often oblivious to things for what they are. Our structured lives demand that we accomplish many tasks that we always “keep going.” Things slip out of sight and distance us from place. Time in the task-oriented life is a time of forgetfulness, while remembrance allows time for the excluded and postponed. It gives us time for encounters with things that might have been, rendering them perceptible for the first time. This is what happens in The Forgotten Town. More than recalling a memory of something that was, it conjures forth a remembrance of what could have been. A ruin makes a thing’s idea apparent to us in a way that a complete work is unable to do, according to Walter Benjamin.

To experience a place is to experience the deep and essential, yet always secretive connection between things and ourselves. Secretive, because the source of a place’s significance lies not in an order that was created through the consummation of our work. Through our act of forming we participate in transforming the space that surrounds us into places. Yet no matter how much we feel at home in a place it is never our “own”, and it remains a constant reminder to us of the traces of the inadequacy inherent in all man-made works. Thus, place is always a dual experience of recognition and alienation.

A construction and an artwork in a landscape are able to form space by occupying it, by filling a place and forgetting it. Through remembering, The Forgotten Town becomes place by making room for the incomplete.

Dag T. Andersson
 

Many will have to admit that this was totally different from that which they had expected.
Gildeskål-mayor Jon G. Karlsen at the opening.

... but spiritual poverty is also a threat to society.
... objects caller to Nordlands Framtid 28.04.1992

Disagreement concerning local participation in Artscape Nordland went up in smoke during yesterday’s opening.
Quotes from an article with the title “Great barbecue place” in Nordlands Framtid 25.07.96

The re-discovered place.
Headline in Nordlandsposten 26.07.96
(Newspaper clipping no. 2380)

The forgotten strife.
Picture title in Nordlands Framtid 19.07.00 (Newspaper clipping no. 3068)

Here they are going to put a heap of rocks in the low-tide pebbles at Oterstranda. And not just any heap of rocks either. Nope, they are going to transport several hundred pallets of rocks from Mårnesskagen and fashion a “sculpture” out of it.
Caller to Nordlands Framtid, 04.10.1994

Why not build a model of Bodø as the city looked after the bombing and place it on a Swedish mountaintop?
...proposes a caller to Nordlandsposten 27.03.1992

I was shaken at first, and did not think it fit in at all. But after this opening I think that it is very exciting.
Christine Eilertsen

Shit sells.
... asserts Oddvar Ingebrigsten to Nordlands Framtid 30.03.1992

The forfotten town is a place of sacrifice – one of the many places where sensibility and integrity once were sacrificed – in the Holy Name of Humbug. How true it is – blessed are those who are spiritually flat-footed – they believe they should be able to walk on water.
Guest writer Arnfinn Wiksaas Sørarnøy,
Nordlands Framtid 16.08.1996