A film by Marthe Ramm Fortun
Cinematographer: Cecilie Semec
Assistant Camera: Roar Midtlien
Editor: Vårin Andersen
Sound: Rune Baggerud, Klippekompaniet
Grading: Christian Berg-Nielsen, Sement og Betong
Produced by Munchmuseet
These texts are written to be read aloud. Would you perform soft passages about the Mekong River with no apparent connection to the present moment? Try shouting the news headlines from a street corner, suck on paragraphs off a torn out page in The Lover by Marguerite Duras. Glued to your sticky fingers, the book now forms part of your body. As if the tales of others were foreign to us, when Mekong is a restaurant downtown and there are paperless bodies floating in the river that divides our city!
Can you hear me?
Fuck, fuck, fuck! The rain is pissing down. The man outside the newsagents has rearranged the contents of a tote and two shopping bags ever since I arrived at the square. His cussing is effervescent, infectious. In a slanted rhythm, he dances around boxfresh, glittering and broken things, placed partly on the ground and on café furniture. The uneven levels create a weird, but dynamic choreography. I take note of his formal approach and owe him everything; my slanted rhythm. A ramshackle hierarchy of things. Here, at Tøyen Square. Children are attracted to him, making excited rounds. They are not trying to be mean. Next to him, a woman seeks shelter from the rain. He launches at her, chatting away, as with the three men he shouts excitedly to: Are you going to the mosque? That’s so beautiful! Fuck, fuck, fuck! The woman picks up her mobile to avoid eye contact with the junkie. The men on their way to the mosque smile overbearingly.
Some girls are eating fruit on a bench outside the library. The youngest girl loudly comments my watercolors, their mother eying me up suspiciously. I understand her. No doubt, I look weird surrounded by newspapers smeared with paint, fed up with painting flowers. It seems so pointless. Start writing, my words straddling Donald Trumps crazy letters. Yes, Donald Trump wrote with his fat marker on top of particles about himself, sent these palimpsests to journalists and opponents. Donald Trumps crazy letters on a café table in Tøyen Square, surrounded by glittering, broken objects in a slanted rythm. Stories create patterns, headline by headline. Fuck, fuck, fuck! The paint is tainted and the colors only mix to brown. Suits me as I break my own rules.
The stone carrying a mouth is in the flowerbed, soiled with wet soil. Acidic rain slowly breaks down the marble in an invisible process; at least something is happening. The children are told to leave me alone. As with the junkie, my presence raises caution, but I am accepted at arms length. Thinking of Chantal Akerman. In her short film Saut ma ville, Blow up my town, the camera pans over Brussel city, let the camera pan over Brussel city, (Next stop: the Vigeland Park) The camera pans across Oslo city, Brussel City. In the short film by Cantal Akerman there is a young girl that takes the elevator in a modernist brut tower block. Tøyen Torg tower block, modernist brut Brussel City. The young girl treats every familiar object in her apartment as if she had never seen any of it before. Spaghetti on the floor, clothes in the fridge, wine as she balances on the utility cabinet. Fuck, fuck, fuck! The rhythm is infectious. She sings, but the sound is not synchronized with the movement of her lips. Finally she jumps out of the window, body of a girl on concrete. It is not about madness, but the longing for sublimation.
The roof of the construction where I am seated is leaking, the pansies and the small pine trees next to me seem pathetic right now, unkept and misplaced in the rain amongst tower blocks. I have more or less given up, can leave Tøyen anytime I wish, just like the Munch Museum. Then you stop me in my tracks, want to chat even if you get wet, a man with accent, Polish perhaps. You have seen me carrying the stones, the suitcase, the flowers, the newspaper and the watercolors. You tell me you work with stone and concrete, you are a craftsman. I explain to you about the Munch project, and that I am an artist. You tell me we are the same, always dragging things around in case they come in handy.