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Since his debut, contemporary composer and vocalist Trond Reinholdtsen’s music has developed in a performative direction; conventional music passages are fused with performance-based forms of expression including essayistic interpretations, live-camera filming and elements including statistical facts, and face-making. In 2009, he founded the Norwegian Opra, which six years later relocated to the woods of Sweden, abandoned the idea of the audience and downscaled the opera apparatus in order to regain artistic freedom in isolation and concentration.

 

(What does artistic freedom mean to you?)

Artistic freedom is of course a fantasy. I have tried (from 2009, when I founded my own institution The Norwegian Opra in my living room, which was later relocated to a villa in the Swedish forest) to suspend as many of the «outer» perceived obstacles to artistic freedom as possible: the festival structures, musicians, collaborators and, ultimately, the audience. But as we know from psychoanalysis: you can’t run away from your superego, and to reach a kind of primordial pre-Oedipal stage of happy free flow of breast milk and feces without any sense of borders between an omnipotent narcissistic subject and some sense of paternal Law becomes, at some point, psychotic. That is my experience anyway, …

 

(Why do you think artistic freedom is important?)

… so art must in some sense interact with the unfree corrupted world. This is very important. But in my view, this romantic activist resistance must evolve out from an isolated cold cellar in the Swedish forest – as the imagined source of utopian artistic freedom, as a true Hegelian negation of the status quo of THE SYSTEM. Or else it quickly becomes a mess because…

 

How is artistic freedom put at risk?

… the SITUATION is becoming increasingly bureaucratized, marketized, instrumentalized, popularized. THE OUTSIDE (of the cold cellar in the Swedish forest) is a mayhem of anxiety and paranoia and dopamine triggers. New forms (at least in Norway) of not-so-subtle political policing and censoring, in parallel with social media shit storms, seems to be the new concept of «the Public».

 

Top photo: From The Norwegian Opra: “Ø”, episode 13.

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