Thursday, October 7, 2010

Oljemaleri Symboler i Kunst undersøkelse

Brudeferden i Hardanger

Monday, August 2, 2010

A video

Check out this 30 second commercial I made for the Headonism Head Massager.
Part of a full ad campaign for this product I am creating for my portfolio. Please do give feedback!

YouTube link:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

June Gloom? Evading doom!!

After completing a long and painful master's thesis proposal process, submitted at the beginning of June, I naturally found out that there were hours and days more work to be done! I underestimated the difficulty of devising a research question that is specific and narrow enough to cover in 100 or so pages over the course of a year. However, I think I've finally got it:

How do Rolf Groven's parody landscapes, like "Oljemaleri" (1975) satirize Norway's contemporary relationship with nature? Does he use irony to show the dichotomy between a spiritual reverence for nature and utilitarian exploitation of nature?

Check out his work here:,

 Copyright Rolf Groven, 1975

Rolf Groven is a contemporary Norwegian painter born on 11 March 1943. He is a self-professed environmentalist. Groven's paintings are political parodies rendered in a figurative style. He repaints the most famous works of Norwegian artists (including The Scream by Edvard Munch and Bridal Procession in the Hardanger Fjord by Adolph Tideman and Hans Gude). He contemporizes these images by adding loaded symbols of unsustainable development or environmental destruction (oil rigs, coal-fired power plants and flooding from global warming). I suggest that Groven's satirical paintings look at environmental issues from a pragmatic (albeit hyperbolical) perspective. His works are an explicit cry for change, using satire to condemn political corruption and flawed policy. He exaggerates problems in the landscape, perhaps in hopes of inspiring policy change.

His use of comedy toward and environmentalist end is rare from an international perspective, and almost unprecedented in Norwegian art. There have been several influential illustrators from Norway and Scandinavia (the Muhammed cartoons scandal a few years ago put Denmark on the map for political cartooning), but it is a rare case when their satire deals with environmental issues. Groven's paintings of exaggerated destruction thereby command the viewer's attention, not only thanks to their skillful rendering but also the originality of the subject matter.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Norsk Code: Once upon a time in the West

The latest edition of Norsk Code: published in the Exeter Newsletter
Legs dangling over the 1,982-foot precipice above Lysefjorden; this is where one gets a sense of Norway’s indescribably sublime natural landscape.

When you walk into a lab and someone is wearing a mask like this, suddenly it's the most stylish accessory you've ever seen. Roald Kommedal is a professor at the University of Stavanger who works primarily with biofilms - any accumulation of microorganisms that adhere to a surface. The topic of our interview became even more relevant the next day as I treaded cautiously over steep and slimy rocks up to Preikestolen.

Stavanger: Norway's oil city. It is arguably the most international of all Norwegian cities and it's the heart of the country's booming economy.

I visited Stavanger for the first time a few weeks ago. My parents and boyfriend would join for the half-work, half-play weekend away. We only got a sporadic night's sleep aboard the overnight train from Oslo to Stavanger as the cabin lights gleamed down on us and our unlucky seats did not recline.

Once in Stavanger, we ambled sleepily up the hill from the train station among quaint, old whitewashed houses teetering awkwardly on steep, San-Francisco-style streets. The edifices seemed out of place when juxtaposed against the enormous, glass encrusted, modern architectural triumphs that lined the city center. In a city with a population of only 120,000, perhaps it's actually those corporate colossuses that should be ogled as black sheep.

All day Friday it rained, which is generally considered to be the natural meteorological state of Stavanger. That was just fine with me as I had a lot of work to do that day. I completed four interviews with portraits. I even had time to visit Sjokoladepiken, a well-known gourmet chocolate shop on Stavanger's most colorful street — Øvre Holmegate.

We spent the next morning lazily enjoying a typical Norwegian breakfast of cold meats on bread, including smoked salmon or liver pâté for the strong-willed. They also served us a modest portion of more familiar fare — bacon and eggs. The American influence is strong in Stavanger and manifests itself in strange ways. There is a greening copper sculpture dedicated by the American oil companies to Norwegian emigrants to the USA. The statue depicts a hoofed animal writhing awkwardly in space, its neck pulled back and turned, legs stretching in unnatural directions. The gesture is actually what you might expect to see if you dropped an antelope into an enormous vat of petroleum. Hmm.

My faithful companion and I were determined to hike up to the world-renowned Pulpit Rock — featured in most photographic brochures boasting Norway's sublime landscape. My parents are not the type to be wooed into a perilous climb up steep, wet rocks and along mountain cliffs. They decided to stay in town. We made plans to meet for dinner at 19:00.

To get to the base of the trail to Preikestolen, one must travel more than an hour by ferry and bus. We were setting out late, and the bus driver warned us twice that we should take care to not miss the last bus, which would depart at 19:15. As we got off the bus at 14:45, I asked the driver what time the soonest bus would leave. He laughed and told me we would never make it for 17:15. I told him I had a date for dinner at 19:00. He said, "Cancel it. It's impossible." That word "impossible" rang in my ears like an antelope's gallop to a pursuing lion.

We had two hours and 45 minutes to complete what fearless, athletic, outdoorsy Norwegians deem a solid four-hour round-trip trek. My boyfriend and I might not be the fittest people in the world, but by God we were the most determined that day. We passed everyone, dodging toddlers and making up inspirational fantasies about being pursued by horribly singing Russians. We pushed on at full speed, even as our legs began to ache and our throats got dry. We made it to the top in one hour and 15 minutes. We must have broken a record. Gloating, we took some pictures and rapidly munched a candy bar appropriately named "Kvikk Lunsj" (pronounced "quick lunch"). After a 15-minute pause we were back on our feet again, literally running down the rocks to make that bus. There was no problem overtaking any of the hikers on the way down — gravity was on our side. Suddenly, we came up behind a group of gray-haired Norwegian women, picking their way down some wobbling wet rocks. We came up behind them and started to pass, but each time we started to speed around, they seemed to dash ahead with superhuman speed. Laughing and talking as they went, those women were nimble as mountain goats. We huffed and puffed, and finally managed to overtake them. As the path in front of me started spinning due to exhaustion and hunger, I pushed on. The thought of that bus driver's face, twisted in shock and awe, drove me forward.

In the end, the glory was ours. We made it back in time for Indian food with my folks. For any readers whom I've convinced to visit Norway, do check out Stavanger and Preikestolen — and take time to eat the Kvikk Lunsj!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I got to believe they come for rock n' roll

I've been shooting, I've been interviewing, I've been traveling, I've been writing, I've been studying!!! But I haven't had time to blog? Please, oh please, dear readers - do not feel neglected. You know, I've missed you very much. Here are some photographs to express my appreciation for your continued interest:

I can't believe it's the end of the year already! Before I hunker down and start really studying for my upcoming Norwegian exam, I'd like to reflect on some lessons I've learned this year:

1. Put reminders everywhere for silly, easy-to-forget things like renewing your monthly travel pass.
2. Never assume that being a "native English speaker" will give you any special advantage. Maybe it will, but certainly not always.
3. Don't be afraid of strangers. They won't bite. ...well, most won't, and if you're randomly bitten by a stranger at least you come away with a good story.
4. People love to talk about themselves. Let them. Let people talk, period.
5. Be observant about what your friends need and try to give it to them before they ask for it.
6. I can live off of less than $1000/mo in the most expensive city in the world, but I'm not sure how long I could keep it up. It involves no travel and almost no extra cash for new clothes or other "necessities." According to the World Bank, 1.4 billion people live off of less than $1.25 per day, or about $37.50/mo.
7. ...None of the other lessons seem very important after that.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Also, in case you didn't catch it:

The most recent installment of Norsk Code, reproduced here for your convenience.
(I hope this isn't copyright infringment... but I'll also include the link to view it directly on Seacoast Media Group's own website, below)

Norsk Code: Getting serious

Fulbright scholar presents project, learns of Arne Naess
Top Photo
Anne Worsøe is the head of New Business for Statkraft, Europe's largest renewable energy company. In our interview she talked about "The old folk songs about the true Norwegian - that was a guy who actually mastered the ocean. In the storms, he went out there, got his fish and came back to feed his family. He was a strong Viking personality, mastering the nature."Stephanie Haas photo
It's Thursday, Feb. 18, at 12:09 p.m.
I am sitting in the Arne Naess Library at the University of Oslo's Center for Development and the Environment (SUM) trying to garner some inspiration while surrounded by Naess's literary collection. Naess was a prolific biographer of Gandhi, expert hiker, natural philosopher and national hero. His colleagues remember him as a man who never owned a car and climbed up the side of the two-story SUM building to enter his office through the window just for fun. Naess also founded the "Deep Ecology" movement. The philosophy emphasizes nature's inherent value and our ethical imperative to value quality of life over economic success.
Why should you care about who Arne Naess was? Perhaps because his son, Arne Naess Jr., was once married to Diana Ross and fathered two of her children? Probably not. Naess's philosophy may well come to influence your life in some very profound ways as the call for global change rings too loud to ignore.
Policy makers and grass-roots organizations alike recognize the urgency of the climate change situation. It is only a matter of time before radical ideas, like the ones espoused by a crazy old mountain-climbing Norwegian philosopher, will infiltrate all of our lives.
I gaze out the window, which the aged philosopher purportedly breached with pick and rope in hand, at the blowing snow and gray sky. Winter has settled its frigid claws into our sides, sending shivers through our tired bodies.
The weather may well be the same here as it is at home, but this annual immersion into survival mode has deleted my memory of previous years. If I were wise enough to follow the Norwegian example, I would have tried cross-country skiing by now. The wintertime activity raises endorphin levels and gets one outside enjoying the snow.
Tall, lean Norwegians, clad in the finest sporting attire — an image of athleticism — stand proudly holding their thin skis riding on the subway up to the track around Sognsvann Lake.
Cross-country skiers are everywhere. Yesterday, I saw several students leaving the local high school on skis. I was on my way to the Norwegian Technical Museum to check out their permanent exhibit on the Norwegian oil industry. All of the text in the exhibit is in Norwegian, which seems a bit strange since other permanent exhibits (like another on music) also include an English translation.
Apparently cross-cultural accessibility is more important in learning about the first recording of Aha's "Take On Me" than the history of the oil industry in the third largest oil exporting country.

Right now you might be thinking, "Arne Naess? Cross-country skiing? Aha? Where is she going with this article?" Allow me to clarify. This meandering style also has some significance within the context of this Norwegian experience.
Last Thursday I attended a seminar held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where all the Fulbrighters from Norway got together and presented their projects. It was a truly multidisciplinary day, with topics from food to pollution to peace. Those following a more pedagogical track here in Norway shared accounts about their teaching experience.
One point that they all agreed on is that there is a trend in Norwegian writing, especially at the pre-university levels, that involves "exploring all sides of a topic, but not really making arguments or conclusions about that topic. Students in Norwegian schools, even through the University level, will write essays detailing their 'thoughts and feelings,' while in U.S. academia, frankly, no one cares about your 'feelings,'" says Julia Edwards, English teaching Fulbrighter from Maine.
"It is, therefore, a challenge to teach university students how to form an argument or thesis statement that they have to fight for, prove and support with evidence because that is just not the way the Norwegian education system teaches writing."
After the seminar we all got together for a ski weekend near Lillehammer. It was exciting, to say the least. Near-death experiences included. It was also productive, as I completed three interviews, including one with Lars, the lift operator. As the sun dropped below the glacier-ripped horizon, we rode the ski lift backwards down the steep mountain, feet dangling high above the slanted trees.
Photographer Stephanie Haas of Stratham is in Norway for one year on a Fulbright Scholarship.

Yes! I am still alive!

Greeting my poor, neglected readers. Please know that I haven't forgotten about you - on the contrary, in fact! I have simply been so busy accruing new and wonderful experiences that it has been impossible to write here.

You will, I hope, forgive the slightly hyperbolical language. Things have more or less fallen into a harried routine here in Olso. With the cold biting through my skin and every bone, it is all one can do to keep moving - trudging through snow drifts and ice patches - on to the next task, as mundane as it may seem. Old man winter finally got the best of me the last week, scratching my throat to a dry, bloody-red mess complete with uncontrollable coughing fits. Itches came from deep in my lungs and are unsatisfied even with the most violent of convulsions. Finally, I'm feeling healthier again, with the more familiar excess of slimy mucous coating the wounds in my pharynx.

On a brighter (and hopefully less graphic) note: My friend from England came to visit last weekend. We journeyed out over the frozen crusts of Sognsvann lake, testing our courage over the slushy parts of ice and trudging through almost three feet of snow.

Working backwards chronologically, the previous Thursday aforementioned German hunk was kidnapped before his birthday. After we rescued him from his captors, we took him to a concert. Reports of the kidnapping are vague and mysterious. Some say a terrorist plot was involved. Others claim it was all a figment of the birthday boy's imagination. Photographic evidence is, as of yet, unavailable, but investigators are on the case.

The Fulbright ski weekend and Viking party... photos can say more than words in this case, I feel.

Heather, Alex and me with Barry White, US Ambassador to Norway at his house!!

I skied down this slope. Almost fell of the edge of the mountain when distracted by the devastatingly gorgeous scenery.

The hallway next to our room at the hotel looked like something out of the Shining. Meant to photograph one of the hotel staff there, but I'm sure I could not have done Kubrick justice.

We were entertained by a 2 man Bulgarian cover band in the empty basement bar at the hotel on Saturday night. Their set list was vast and extensive, ranging from New York, New York to I Kissed a Girl to the most obscure Madonna song any of us had ever heard.

The decor was very 70s with a retro mod twist. 

Prep for viking party: I wore my helmet everywhere

Skiing at Tryvann

Vi gikk på beserk

I got to DJ for an hour. Don't think I'll be doing that again any time soon. The thinly veiled, boiling rage is real this time.

While on the ski weekend, I completed a few interviews. Since then, I have been running a bit behind schedule, but I expect the project to pick up rapidly after the first week of April when my term paper and final for another class are due. I am waiting for the spring weather and that age-old familiar call "west! west! west!" to lure me to the opposite shores for some captivating consultations with whalers and oil (wo)men.