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Making Memories

Contemporary Aesthetic Articulations of Norway in the Second World War


A remarkable trait of today’s intense engagement with the Second World War is the vivid involvement of aesthetic articulations. TV productions, movies, theatre performances, exhibitions, memorial sites, comics, and literature refer to events and experiences from the war in numerous ways. Their contributions frequently achieve broad attention and trigger debate, often in ways that prompt reconsiderations of knowledge production and perceptions of the past.

Making Memories aims at examining these trends as we assume that general conceptions of the war to a large extent are based on aesthetic representations. The ability of art to make people and situations come alive helps to catch the interest in what has happened, link it to our present, and offer both captivating, thought-provoking and contested interpretations. We examine which topics are addressed, how they are scientifically and artistically treated, what discussions they enable, and what function they have in contemporary cultural and political contexts.

The central idea is that the past emerges in dynamic negotiations between existing interpretations and new interests and that the war in Norway is created and recreated as a product of changing cultural memories and aesthetics. Therefore, the project emphasizes examining how the war is presented as a complex product of various voices, texts, images and objects based on conditions and needs in contemporary society.

Making Memories started March 1, 2022, and is scheduled to last until May 31, 2026. The project is supported by the Research Council of Norway under the  program Fellesløftet and by the University of Agder.

Top illustrations, clockwise, from left: Den største forbrytelsen (copyright Fantefilm/Karl Erik Brøndbo), Vår versjon (copyright Andreas Røst), Natt i verda (copyright Det Norske Teateret/L-P Lorentzen), Flukten over grensen (copyright Maipo Film), Sabotør. I skyggen av Tirpitz (copyright John S. Jamtli, gjengitt med tillatelse fra Strand forlag), Digital rekonstruksjon (copyright Falstadsenteret).