Norway recently unveiled artist Jonas Dahlberg’s "Memory Wound" as the winning entry in a memorial design competition to commemorate the country's deadliest massacre since World War II. The terror attacks, which took place on Utoya Island and Oslo three years ago, claimed 77 lives in total. The first of the two memorials will be located near the Utoya campsite and will poetically slice the landscape in two to create a void symbolizing the country’s colossal loss of life.
Swedish artist Dahlberg designed two national public art memorial sites: one located on the Sørbråten island north of Utoya Island with the second located in Oslo. The design proposes cleaving Sørbråten’s rocky promontory into two parts as an “acknowledgement of what is forever irreplaceable.” The man-made void in the landscape will create separate landmasses divided by a channel of water with visitors on one side and the engraved names of the victims on the other. The gap between the landscape will be made wide enough so that visitors will not be able to touch the names engraved on other side of the headland.
The landmass excavated from the Sørbråten will be used construct the foundation of the second memorial site located at the Government Quarter in Oslo. Dahlberg’s proposal also specifies that trees and plant material be transplanted from the Sørbråten landscape to the center of Oslo in order to reinforce the connection between the two memorial sites. The Oslo memorial will also feature an open-air amphitheater that will gently carve itself into the earth.
“The memorial amphitheater will be an open, relational space that offers conditions for dialogue and interaction that is not directed or prescribed,” writes Dahlberg in a statement. “The space itself will convey the specific topography that exists as a reflection of life amidst loss, healing, memory and a future to behold.”