Ayman Azraq - TO NO WHERE - 16.05.13 – 26.05.13
Ayman Azraq -TO NO WHERE
Oslo project part 1
16.05.13 – 26.05.13
Opening: THURSDAY 16.05.13, 20.00 - 23.00
Opening hours 14-17, Saturdays and Sundays
"Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place"
- Chris Marker
"In 1993 was the first time I heard the word Oslo, mentioned in
conjunction with the Oslo accord -the peace agreement between Israel and
Palestine that was brokered in Oslo. At that time Oslo did not mean the
capital of Norway to me, neither did the agreement itself make much
sense to me at that time. To me it just meant that I would have a
passport and be able to travel around the world."
When you sit down in that seat, in that plane, with your body, moving
from one time zone to another you know you will automatically perceive
things differently when you arrive than before you left. But how does it
feel to sit down in that seat when you know that your move will be
permanent. When you know there is no going back. When your perception of
the place you are leaving is softly crumbling, a memory already; and
this new time zone and this new geographic area and culture will also be
the new you.
"I still remember that someone told me now after Oslo you will be able
to have breakfast in Palestine, lunch in Jordan and dinner wherever you
want in the world. Unfortunately nothing changes on the ground, on the
contrary things became more difficult and areas became smaller and
We carry our home countries like weights, chained to our mother
language, we perceive ourselves not only as me but also as us. All
people regardless of nationality have certain obvious similarities: We
all drink, sleep, eat and try. Try to work, try to get laid, trying to
get work, maybe one day a family, trying to stay sane in a world going
insane. So what is it like to come from a country that doesn't enjoy
status as a country, to the country that has the most status as a
country at this moment in time. Shifted from a place where you had no
rights to a place where having all rights is the norm, only to realize
that those rights do not apply to you. How do you cope with that
paradox, where do you go and how do you belong?
"13 years later, Oslo appears again in my life. I get a scholarship from
the Norwegian authorities to study in Oslo. This time Oslo is giving me
the chance to travel. I had to travel through Jordan, but first I had to
cross the boarders where I passed the Israeli security then the
Jordanian security, after that I went to the airport in Amman where I
went through security once more and finally I was on the flight to
Immediately pragmatic questions arise: How will I find my way in this
new scenario? Unlike a tourist, the interactions you are faced with in a
short span of time will not be recreational,, but might build the
premises of what will become your new life. Should, you buy into the
customs that apply within the communities you are now entrenched in,
thus discarding your culture and therefore your self. Or should you
stick with what is yours and force your surroundings to not only accept
your presence, but also your history. These are chronic concerns that
will have lifelong implications when you are a permanent alien. Your
attitude (and your luck) will decide if this new place will be a noplace
or a myplace, a utopia you will never fully grasp or a garden of culture
where you’ll be able to plant new
"Oslo was so green and full of water, that was the first image i got to
Oslo when the plane was landing. Even if it was a rainy day it was nice.
On that day I get lost in the city while searching for the art- academy.
During my search i get help from the people in the streets, I get an
impression that people in Oslo are really nice and helpful people."
“Be aware of pickpockets.” A phrase all too common in the area of Oslo
where immigrants, most of them with Norwegian passports, leave or enter
the vessel of public transport. All places are prejudiced towards new
arrivers, and all new arrivers will be prejudiced towards a new place.
The question is whether you will let those mirages define your view, or
if you will connect. This nation Norway, the utopian nation of peace
hungry diplomats faces problems that naturally will be harder to
decipher than do more disorganized societies. Two summers ago we were
reminded that the capitol and the country in its entirety was able to
foster and obscure a severe darkness that resulted in one of the most
extreme acts of violence in the western world since WW2. What took is
easy to criticize when you don’t make the problem yours, but you will
handle it with more care when you wish to become a real part of this
society, and thus the problem will also be a part of you, and therefore
you a part of the problem. When you come to a new place, you escape or
distance yourself from the problems of the place you left, and this new
place should ideally not be about problems, but potential.
"It was a great surprise for me when i realized how the fjord isso close
to the city center. I had not seen the sea for the last nine years in my
life, so I used to go to Aker brygge every day for more than a
You are the history of the sphere where you were born, but by entering a
new sphere you will be the creator of that sphere. Through investigation
that will seem superfluous to a native, you are applying a new hue with
an autonomous integrity to this worn out, blank canvas. It’s important
to distinguish between where you are from (and thus what you are) and
what you want to become. To be a new arriver will often feel like
standing on a railway station seeing people come and go, moving
naturally through space, while you are going nowhere,frozen and stuck.
For every plateau you jump there is another door that will lead to a new
plateau, with a new door to open. Each door that you open teaches you
new insights. Each door also leads you away from your history – towards
a new self.
"Oslo starts to look different after you've lived there for a while,
it's not the same city that I imagined it to be when I arrived. You
begin to see the details of the city and to understand the Norwegian
culture and people. You even begin to understand the Norwegian foreign
politics in a different way than how you saw them when you were living
in your home country."
Immigration creates its own socialism that knows no bounds. Here we are
dealing with a universal socialism of basics, not a political one. The
fastest growing city in the western world is also a city that lately has
been facing challenges of internationalization.. As longs as we meet
these changes with a remorseless foregoing of priveleges, wewe will be
able to generate a new type of culture that does not only function as a
preservation of local history, but which also generates a stimulus for
cultural innovation. This is the challenge for any community, grand or
small, and if you start seeking and investigating, preserving and
protecting, but at the same time resample and mix, twist and turn the
premises, encouraging differences while strengthening them, you are
creating fertile soil. You are preparing the grounds for a culture that
will be able to transcend the old one, while at the same time pay
tribute to our forefathers. It might seem impossible, but it’s not.
Where the name “Oslo” comes from nobody knows for sure. The closest we
have come to an interpretation is: “Old Gods” combined with “plain
fields.” There is both potential and history in that name.
"I still don’t have a passport."
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safsaf.org - 13-05-2013