November 29, 2006


“I read and grasped your connections between the forest, prostitution, and immigration..are Danish you as politically astute as you are suggesting? But my question also has to do with what you raise in your newest posting about graffiti/vandalism. On what level is the penis imagery meant to shock? Also, as you know when tagging became hugely popular in New York in the '80's there was much angst expressed especially by local government, fines were given, and massive clean-up projects were put in the works, especially in the subway system. Where and what impact is the graffiti/vandalism you are photographing having on the Danish social/political psyche? Is it being noticed? Is it out in the open? How are people and/or local government responding to it?”

This was a comment posted on my flickr account, asked by Kim Cameron, US reader and sharp minded friend. Ill try to my best knowledge and answer it.
!) Astute? After I found out what astute means, I can definitely say: yes. They are astute, if you mean shrude or calculating…but is it not a quality in political culture, that has become more of a necessity than a problem, even though the outcome is often highly questionable. That astute not necessarily means talented is another issue.
Let me exemplify, with the newest caper from the danish government: Minister of Foreign Development (thirdworld-related) Ulla Tørnæs, has launched a new initiative, more or less leaving it up to 5 famous danish individuals to decide, which development projects (in the third world) to support. The project has cost 7 million Danish kroner to create. Of a fond counting a pathetic 12 million kroner (that’s approx. 2 mill. US dollars), 5 of 100 projects will finally receive support, accordingly to the decisions of the famed person. In other words: Denmark has introduced a third world policy based on reality TV concept. The media partner chosen to cover the “show” is no less than infamous Jyllands Posten, known in particular for its role in the so-called Mohammed-Crisis, a newspaper also known as one of the most uncritically enthusiastic supporter of the danish rightwing (and US lapdog) government. Astute, you bet, talented…well. As the popular answers often goes: “We will leave it up to history to decide.”

1) On what level is the penis graffiti meant to shock?
I don’t know, that’s why I only conclude it to be pretty young. I don’t know of a lot of people who will find it shocking….maybe the size of it?
2) The Impact?
That’s a tough one. As I wrote yesterday, the conflict between the two is pretty persistent. I wouldn’t say though that it’s the talk of the town. A lot of energy is put into cleaning walls, and from time to time the media burps out stereotypes, that can keep the fear of writers at hand. Statistics shows two things:
That graffiti and tagging, as you write, create a sense of fear especially among the 60plus generation, but on the other hand they also shows that writers as such are NOT to be considered violent or criminals. Give me a day or two and I can dig the source of the information out from my moving boxes.
But of course: If you are caught with your hands on the aerosol can doing a whole-car, the fine is massive, and can be followed by imprisonment.

One local politician from the city council of Copenhagen, suggested that the council as such should sublet “public space” for giant commercials, billboards etc, to pay for the expenses they have on removing the graffiti. That juxtapose, commercials in public space versus graffiti, have raised a debate though, as to who owns public space, and what is the real difference between commercials and graffiti, and that I welcome.

November 27, 2006

ON YOUNG GRAFFITI, see flickr-link.

In many ways you could say that every wholepiece, throw up, tag or doodle you encounter on citywalls, trains, busses, cars and so on is to be considered expressions of graffiti, and also young graffiti, as most graffiti-painters (or writers rightfully as they are refered to) I know of is under 30, and in western civilisation below 30, is young.
The pieces I have sought out over the last month or so, are, with few exceptions, mostly tags and doodles, defined by their somewhat naïve and primitive graphic layout and textual messages, which I have found more than enough to conclude, that these were made by considerable younger painters, than those of more classic graffiti whole-pieces.
What I in particular find interesting about these young graffiti doodles and tags is not so much the semantics, as it is the apparent messages.

The never ending discussion about graffiti mostly revolves around two issues, namely: Is graffiti art? Or Is graffiti vandalism?
Firstly: Graffiti isnt only, either art or that, vandalism. It is two highly different conceptual terms which finally defines partly graffiti and partly vandalism. None the less a very persistent conflict exists between the two concepts, because graffiti as such, also questions the cultural consensus it literally lives upon, the right of private property, the proprietary right, which again serves to define graffiti as vandalism.
You cannot use the proprietary right to define whether something is art or not: graffiti is in one way vandalism if a whole-piece is done on a subway train, but does it mean that it is also NOT art?

Graffiti is generally considered vandalism, which it also is, but is also generally described from the approach: How can society win the fight against the destructive and beastly paintjobs on public and private walls, trains and so forth.
It’s without any doubt a relevant approach on graffiti, but, it is not the only one. The proprietary right cannot rule out the aesthetics and cultural links that graffiti expresses, from which also a very commercial and lucrative culture has developed.

The young pieces I have documented I think adds another parallel, not to the discussion as such, but to what kind of tool graffiti can be, and also a statement about which informal room they occupy.
Of a good hundred pictures taken I can almost guarantee that not one is made by the same painter/writer. And it hasn’t been hard finding them, therefore I easily conclude, to nobodies surprise I guess, it is a very common way, to “get it out of the system”, so to say, and therefore also is to be considered a very contemporary picture of where a large part of teens are.
And I have, as an old fart of a dad and in terms of social work, times over and over, experienced, that if you want to be even with teens; if you want to see them at eye-level as the cliché goes, one crucial starting point, is being able to relate to their informal moves and ways, without a patronizing approach. In other words: As art often is, these doodles are to be considered as resources, a way of independent interpretation and relating to the reality they inhabit.

Wheres the line between what is up for sanitation and freedom of speech or what is destroyed cultural values? Who would dare sanitate the lines and of the Vikings, the catacomps of mideveal churches, Cy Twomblys or Keith Harings drawings? Who today knows, what in the future will be consired valuable or not, chosen from what is to be found on our city walls?”

Staffan Jacobsson:

Den spraymålade bilden – graffitimåleriet som bildform, konströrelse og läroproces.
Aerosol Art Archives, Lund, 1996.

...a little voluptious, but he he has got a point.

November 24, 2006

The Forest

I had considered writing about the more or less sudden re-appearance of trees and forests in contemporary Danish painting, represented in particular by Katrine Ærtebjerg, Julie Nord, Fie Norsker and many other artists born somewhere between 1968 – 1975. I had the discussion with a Swedish artist lately, and we both agreed, that it seemed to be an absolute tendency among modern danish painters. As to why or how, our thoughts blurred considerable more:
The forest as an introvert symbol for the subconscious, as the ladder part of the scene has become very intro-vert and self-containing, self-perpetuating? The forest as a metaphore of the world/reality as a dark and mysterious place where the definitive control is really beyond us, as the passing seasons is nothing but life and death: the loss of sense, purpose and control?
Or is it that the new born naïve and somewhat infantile art lingo, the lines, the colours, the tendency to thrash the objects in mind, is an excuse for actually not being able to draw or paint and are they just copycats riding a trend that obviously is selling art? Or are they turning to God in nature, the Nature of God, as the golden age romantics did?

I don’t know, but I know what I see, and I know what I read, and I stopped considering writing about it, as I at Politikens website today read that more and more danish families now are buying one Christmas tree per kid per family. There`s a reason. If the forests disappear, we can paint them, before we stop remembering what they looked like, and thus finally I can get lost among pink wheeping willows.

But what also changed my mind was two other things: Yesterdays edition of Information and Lennards posting at DAMIJWH today.
Under the headline yesterday: “You cannot count annula rings on a human being” (the trees again) in Information, the story goes that four Nigerian females (underaged) lately were arrested for prostitution in Copenhagen. Their age in mind, they constituted a major problem to danish minister of social affairs Eva Kjer “in-equality is dynamic, dynamic means mo money” Hansen.

As they accordingly to a UN ruling (which Eva Kjer Hansen has co-written) was to be considered minors, they had RIGHTS, and Eva Kjer Hansen, couldn’t, with a blink on an eye, put them on the next plane to West Africa.
However, the minister have now received the results of a test performed on the Nigerian women in question from Forensic Institute @ The University of Copenhagen, which concludes that the women is more likely to be considered 20 – 21 years of age, instead of 16 – 17. The tests performed by the forensics included:

1) An overall medical examination, focused on the psychical development of the body, and especially on the growth of pubic hair.
2) X-rays of the teeths and bonestructure of the hands and wrists.

Eventhough the forensics states that such a test must be taken with certain reservations, the problem of what to do with the four girls is off of the shoulders of Eva Kjer Hansen. The girls are now placed in the adult asylum center Sandholm, on the mercy of Danish minister of immigration, Rikke “sympathy doesn`t count and I wouldn`t piss on you if your face caught fire” Hvilshøj, and are without doubt awaiting deportation.

So again the real problem of trafficking, poverty, slips out of focus, and we are back to normal.

November 22, 2006

symbols of migration

the exibiton "symbols of migration" opened on monday in viborg. a link here to the local newspapers article on the project, which I hope will appear somewhere in the vicinity on Copenhagen early 2007:

the article danish

November 16, 2006

I have said it before and I will say it again: There is no free lunch.

klikken sie hier

November 15, 2006

today, 2 things:
Under the headline "Velida wasnt thin enough" in todays edition of Politiken, Rikke "sympathy doesnt count and I wouldnt piss on you if your face caught fire" Hvilshøj, elaborates on the deportation of 30 year old Velida Cekovic. Elaborating is maybe saying too much. She basicly says what I refered to yesterday, that she cannot personalize sympathy for single-cases. Or: had Velida Cekovic had a bodyweight less than the 84 pound that is the case, that wouldnt have help either. Velida is now straded in Bosnia without relatives, but with her kids, no medical care, and is accordingly to Politiken: "eight pounds from dying..."
Does helping her really demand sympathy? Maybe not, but dignity could be a nice try...

My photo-documentary from Thailand "Symbols of Migration" is opening next week:
Feel free to join the opening at monday 19.11 at 1400h @ the Teachercollege, Reberbanen, Viborg.

We will drink wine and eat pretzels and choke on the historic conditions.

November 14, 2006

sympathy for the devil

Once again, on the news (TV2) last night (my days of not watching TV is fading) Danish minister of integration Rikke “sympathy doenst count and I wouldn’t piss on you if your face caught fire” Hvilshøj was being interviewed, in front of her yellow brick villa in the charming surburb of Greve, about yet another case of a troublesome deportation from Denmark of a kosovo-albanian mother of two. I didn’t get all the details of the case in question, and that isn’t the point here either. The minister answered with the exact same phrases as when 15 year old sri-lankian orphan Rem, about three weeks ago was faced with deportation. The public debate got heated over his situation, and to no surprise he was granted permission to stay. Which he absolutely deserved, as does the kosovo-albanian mother of two.

However, the cases constitutes a problem, that in particular points back at the media-machinery. The TV2 reproter, Cecelie Beck, kept hammering the minister with one question: “Is it humane? Is it humane? Is it humane?”, to which Rikke “sympathy doesn’t count and I wouldn’t piss on you if your face caught fire” Hvilshøj answered, as always, that one law, one rule, applies for everyone, and that theres is no room for single-cases. Bullshit I say. Every case of a potential deportation is a single case, and the answer just shows the government lack of political will and tendency to treat these issues with the generalizing approach: One size fits all.

On the other side of bad news for a good story, sits 600 iraqian rejected asylum-seekers in Danish asylum-centers in total limbo. Politicians from the opposition is trying ease the pain for them, by introducing law-proposals that will allow them to work while they await a verdict, while the absolute horror, I think, goes totally unnoticed: Not one politician, or media, and in particular TV, seems to point out the dilemma of sending 600 iraqians home to a country in which Denmark is very active in war.

But the case is clear: sympathy doesn’t count. Close the door.

November 10, 2006


Rightfully also celebrating the outcome of theMidterm election in the US which turned out to be the landslide, they had coming. Also celebrating stepped down DonaldsRumsfeld with this little collection of highly enternaing quotes mirroring the depth and shallowness of a powerfull Warlord:


"Corporations are racing to stake their claim on the consumer group formerly known as children, and what was once a preview of a few entertainment and toy companies has now escsalated into a gargantuan multitentacled enterprise with a combined marketing budget estimated at 15 billion dollars annually (2004: US figures) about 2,5 times more than was spent i 1992. Children are the darlings of Corporate America: a new kind of paedophila."

Well, what should have been another small celebration here at NOASRP, as this is my posting number fivehundred: That is equal to 19, 23 postings a month, which equals 0,6 posting a day over the last two years and some days, (yes, I am a sad little self-celebrating cocksucker),
turns out to be another aggresive and somewhat pessimistic posting. The link to the article today only serves to elaborate and emphasizes the quotation above, sampled from, yes own blog on november 29, 2004. (yes, I am a selfcelebrating little shit).

The Citizen has become The Consumer. And consumptiom on top of every bill of rights.

November 09, 2006

yesterday I went to see Alejandro González Iñárritu new flick BABEL. Having seen more of his work, of which I especially enjoyed AMORRES PERROS, I was slightly disappointet with BABEL. Clearly 30 minutes to long, it, in spite of the issues and personal downfall in the movie, never really got to me. It seemed too contructed, and the paralel stories to easy, allthough the story of the deaf and numb girl lost by lack of communication in Tokyo came out really good, closer to me, but further from the movie.

Anyway the photage and the soundtrack was great, but bacisly it was more movie that confirmed the states of things than putting forward provoking og controversial interpretations of the state of El Mundo, which I definitely expect from a 135 minutes production.

November 08, 2006

mixed message

four headlines in different newpapers made a lasting impression on me over he last week.

1: a recent pole shows that one in every fifth dane now is pro capital punishment, aka: the mercy seat.
the positive attitude towards solving the crime issues with DEATH, was predominantly distinct among the ranks and voters, for and of DANSK FOLKEPARTI, the lesser educated, and readers of danish tabloid Ekstra Bladet. That itself didnt surprise. The surprise is the actual number of people pro-death. Over a period of 5 years it has more than doubled. The bitterness, the animosity just adds to the picture of a country, of people imploding in them selves: Close the door after me, I have what I want.

2: that more than 50% of DK population seems to agree that the coming execution of Saddam Hussein only just fits the crimes he commited. Its gonna be a stunningly hardhitter, once the the happy slapping of Saddam hits the internet... Remember the aired freak trial of Ceaucesco?

3: Let him rot in jail for 40.000 years, which was the official verdict on the convicted Madrid terror-bombers. Understable, the rage in mind, but do-able? What strange sense of justice.

4: the reoccuring massive headlinelines on tabloid newspapers BT and Ekstra Bladet, which in particular refers to the primetime show VILD MED DANS. How the f... can two adjascent newspaper with just a little ethics let references to a f...... tv program to make headlines? And how it applies and goes down well, I refer to the abovementioned (1).

November 06, 2006

I havnt seen BORAT: The Movie yet. I plan to.

But have you seen this, the real mccoy?

November 04, 2006

The Clayton Brothers: The Most special day of my life.

three immensely positive newsflashes from the past week: my days of social nadir has definitely evaporated. This week I attended no less than two movie-premiers. That’s like…so much up the ladder, the height is almost frightening.
On Wednesday, by rubbernecking on the means, tolls and networking of Swedish novelist Jakob Ejersbo I attended the opening night of Ole Christian Madsen newest film, “Prag” starring Stine Stengade and the omnipresent frenzy of Mads Mikkelsen.

The film: Christopher (Mads Mikkelsen) has been summoned To Prague to bring home the corpse of his deceased father, with whom he havnt had any contact for 25 years. Simultaneously his marriage with Maja (Stine Stengade) is running dry, as Christopher confronts her with the inescapable fact, that he knows she is having a very intimate affair with a younger man.
Shot on location over 24 days in Prague, the city serves as a perfect kafkaesque backdrop for the narrative that unravels. At first impressions it seems that Christopher is willing to do everything to save their marriage, but the closer he gets to the full story of his father life of which he knew nothing, and to which he is caught somewhere between indifference and hate, the more he seems to acknowledge that his marriage is over, and that he wants it to be over as much as Maja. It doesn’t go about without intense drama in really well played low-fi scenes, and the dialogue is as tense, honest and emphasizes the absence of choice, except for the final break up.
Stengade and Mikkelsen are playing each their character with great integrity and credibility, and it is clear in the direction of the movie, that O.C Madsen has great and equally sympathy for both Christopher and Maja. It stands out that the director knows the story well and it is told with the twists, dilemmas and desperation that I can only imagine is the cold reality of a break-up and he clearly avoids the clichés at hand.
Also I find it clear that he states that The Modern, do offer an “afterlife”, and that there are reasons not to underestimate and respect the family structures and cultures that emerges and constructs, following the rising numbers of first family break ups.

On Friday I attended the premier of four movies at Cinematekets sneak bar. The first 3 were not the best I have seen, mostly they came out as dramatized jokes, that all were 17 minutes too long. On the other hand, the last movie of the night: “Hvordan de danser” (How they dance) by Jesper Ravn came out clear as daylight.
An almost anthropological short-film depicturing four average danes, chosen among hundreds, to perform a dance to their favourite tune.
The performances of a slightly overweight 34 year female old school-teacher, doing booty-shakes and hard choreopgraphy to a Beyoncè Knowles hit, the 50-something year old male århus-based gartner and American doing a spectacular anachronistic dance in flip-flops whilst undoing and doing his ponytail to a latino-up beat tune, the 35 year old male writer and in many ways bookkeeper in a crossover between electric boogie, elvis-moves and just pure emancipation in top shined shoes and footwork to Desmond Dekker`s “The Israelites”, and finally the 17 year old female from Århus, doing it in front of flames to “Relight my fire..” was nothing less than a brilliantly sympahtetic and honest film.

Then this morning, the long awaited package from Amazon arrived with the Book (see picture, top): “The most special day of my Life” by artist brothers Clayton.
The Clayton Brothers do very narrative, autobiographical, surreal and ethereal and subliminal paintings: From memories of surburban decay coated with irony and humble truths.

The site

November 01, 2006

good fun for a boring day at the office: subtitle your own movie at bombay tv.

klikken sie hier

now its dark, and winter came with the precision of a neurotic arctic clockwork...