Art and Social Life

Topics: Art, Right of asylum, Refugee Pages: 4 (1263 words) Published: January 3, 2013
Scenes from reality

“You are getting closer to reality when you say that it presents itself; that means it is not there, existing as an object. The world, the real, is not an object. It is a process.” Cage and Charles 1981: 180

In the early 20th century, the art situation changed. Art began to intervene in the public space by means of processes and fleeting experiences. Artists began to act in and direct situations and events that were collectively referred to as performance art. During the past decade, performance art has acquired new relevance, and presentations such as the performances by Goksøyr & Martens are in tune with this trend.

On a bitterly cold November evening in 1998, Goksøyr & Martens gave their performance of Hva må gjøres? (What is to be done?). The two artists behind the project, Camilla Martens and Toril Goksøyr were dressed in gleaming white quilted jackets, and posed as energetic journalists in the process of presenting a “live” newscast about political asylum seekers in Norway. Lights, TV cameras and several fir trees had been set up on Christiania Torg in front of UKS in Oslo. A clapped-out, antiquated bus drove onto the square and 30 refugees from Kosovo were helped to disembark. While the refugees settled themselves among the fir trees, the “journalists” began to report on the situation of refugees around the world. Through loudspeakers we were given information about the 13 million people currently displaced as a result of war and persecution. In the past decade alone, one million have fled from Kosovo. The “journalists” informed us that

“The number of people who have been killed or who have disappeared is not so high as in Bosnia, but the destruction has been far greater. Houses have been demolished. The refugees are still living out in the woods, without any help. They have nothing to return to.”

As a viewer one immediately felt uncomfortable in this face to face confrontation with refugees. It was one thing to see them...
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