ekebergparken or: how i learned to stop looking for a good shot and embrace tourism

by August Houston

I am horrible at being a tourist.AH_camera

My camera is (usually) always slung around my neck, and I’m always reminding myself that a good photograph is what I make of it; I struggle to make the mundane bend to my eye’s will. This is not the mindset I went to Ekebergparken with because I wanted to remember it at face value. Simply, I wanted to be a tourist for once.

So myself and a troupe of peers ventured forth. We rode the T-Bane to Jernebanetorget and hopped on the Trikk to Ekeberg. Walking up the initial hill, the first thing we noticed was a sculpture suggestively on its back, pushing its hips toward the sky. It really didn’t help that this thing was banana yellow. Immediately, it was apparent this was a peculiar breed of park. Erik, Quen, and I looked right and saw a huge hill. At the top was a glass, er, something. Being young boys at heart, we sprinted up the hill in a footrace, leaving behind the rest of the group for the rest of the visit. It was basically just a glass room, so nothing too special.

Up another hill was the James Turrell pieces which were unfortunately closed to the public save for on Sundays. This obviously meant we had to revisit (hint, hint). Going throughout the park, we noticed several female-related sculptures, fitting the descriptions that were told to us. Some highlights included a lady squatting and using the restroom, a pair of metallic figures molded together hanging in some trees, and the sculpture Anatomy of an Angel by Damien Hirst. Now, this last one was my favorite for reasons unknown, but this probably was because I am biased towards human skeletons. More importantly, however, was the view. It was a scene of the harbor and the fjord, but we were so high up in elevation and were at a different angle and the sunlight was perfect and the sky was so clear…everything was perfect. Breathtaking is an understatement, and the panorama that I shoddily stitched together does it absolutely no justice.



Days later, we returned to the museum on Sunday and finally saw Turrell’s safeguarded pieces. There were specific rules on what to not do, so I’m kind of hesitant to even write about the experience. The second piece was basically worthless unless you visited 30 minutes prior to sunrise or sunset. The first rooms were fantastic, though. Simply put, they were two open spaces across from each other, and the far walls were lit with slowly changing light. You weren’t allowed to wear shoes, so I sat cross-legged in a meditation pose and gazed into the blank space; the intent is to induce snow blindness. My mind emptied, my vision blurred. I sat there, silent, for ten minutes and became self-absorbed. I dreamt of two photo ideas while sitting there, and I promptly wrote those down afterward so I wouldn’t forget.

So what’s the takeaway from these two visits? Obviously, it depends on the individual. But I think, personally, it’s more of a statement on my experience in Oslo and Norway thus far. I’ve never felt more at peace in an area? That’s probably cliche, though. Everything seems so much simpler when you’re away from your normal life, exploring some random park and running around with your classmates instead of working on a project. This stems into what I assume will wrap up my own personal blog I maintain on Tumblr; if you have the money to go on vacation, then by all means, devote some of that to a trip somewhere new. It’s a healthy break from the mundane, the thickness of it all.

Please, for your benefit, go be a tourist.

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