Dark Valentines & New Poll

After a period of relative neglect of my Blog (I’ve simply been too busy finalizing my book), it’s time to activate it more again and also for having a new theme poll – a choice of topics that a blog post the week after next Sunday should have. So have your say!

As promised last time, on this occasion all suggested themes are new (I may re-run older also-rans later on) – and they all begin with a “b”. Here we go:

 

a) dark tourism & barbed wire

b) dark tourism & bent steel

c) dark tourism & broken glass

d) dark tourism & bullet holes

 

Please vote for your favourite out of these four by leaving a comment below with your choice – or, if you’re a subscriber to the newsletter, by replying to this Sunday’s issue.

 

Today is “Valentine’s Day”, one of those dates in the year that has increasingly been commercialized; I’ve seen not just heart-shaped ice-creams and cheeses but yesterday I even spotted heart-shaped frozen pizza Margherita in the supermarket! Do they stop at nothing?!?

I counter all this faux romanticism with a dark take on Valentine’s Day. A year ago, I used the photo above on my then still active Facebook DT page (purged later that year) for a quiz question, as had been traditional on that page on Fridays. Here’s the photo again with the old post text, pulled from my archive and slightly adapted:

 

Death Will Tear Us Apart

 

I tried to find something to put a dark spin on that prescribed ‘romanticism’ of Valentine’s Day and found this in my archive.

The caption is in allusion to that old Joy Division classic song “Love Will Tear Us Apart”.

But where is this piece of dark art to be found?

The following day I revealed the answer to the quiz question and posted a gallery of additional photos from the same location:

Vigeland Park in Oslo, Norway, part of Frogner Park, named after Gustav Vigeland, the artist who created all the sculptures and bas-reliefs in the park between 1924 and 1943.

It’s a massive collection, and full of highly intriguing works, of which some are decidedly “dark” in appeal and many others quite, er, “risqué”, to say the least.

Here are a few more examples …

bodily composition

in the heart of Oslo’s Vigeland Park

… definitely risqué, but also sexist?

… and what are we to make of this? Note the polished bits!

… and what about this bas relief? Could it be called “Good Riddance”?

centrepiece of Vigeland Park – a stone column in the shape of a tangle of bodies

13 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

sign up to the newsletter!

Namibia & North Korea

Many readers will wonder what the south-west African country of Namibia, one of the best-functioning democracies of the continent, can possibly have to do with North Korea, that staunch ultra-communist dictatorial hermit country in the far east of Asia. But there is a link. This: The Mansudae Art Studio in Pyongyang. North Korea has a massive demand for propaganda posters, monuments and other socialist-realist art, and most of that is produced by the Mansudae Studio. It’s a veritable industry. So big is the “industry” that it also has an “Overseas Projects” branch, offering their services to other countries. And several countries have indeed taken up that offer over the years, mostly in Africa,

Read More »

Elizabeth Bay

This is the third and final blog post about the diamond-mining ghost towns in Namibia (after the earlier ones featuring Pomona and Kolmanskop). This time it’s about the largest of the three: Elizabeth Bay. And again this post is primarily a photo essay.

The name comes from the actual Elizabeth Bay on the Namibian Atlantic coast where the town and diamond mine were established in the 1920s. The bay was given its name by the British in the mid-nineteenth century, during the German colonial era it was known as “Elisabethbucht”. Locally the name

Read More »

First Anniversary of my Book

On this date, one year ago my book Atlas of Dark Destinations, pictured above, was released internationally. Back then I marked the occasion with this celebratory post (the date also happens to coincide with the National Day here in Austria).

At that point I was still cautiously optimistic that the book would earn me some money beyond the advance I had been given by the publishers. Unfortunately, a year on, that has still not happened. Sales have not yet fully recouped the advance, so I’ve not earned a single extra penny from it so far. I wasn’t

Read More »