It is the season for dissertations in arts. On Saturday a Norwegian art student Karl Edvin Endersten staged a performance that contained an IKEA kitchen, the text “Rape Me”, and served date rape drugs to his audience. The police showed up and arrested Endersten as GHB is an illegal drug in Norway. The audience thought that the police were part of the installation. The museum director called the installation bad art and removed it from the installation.
The artist stands by his work. The drug was only served to willing participants (and not to children). He sees the work as a social experiment. “The work crosses some boundaries, but I stand by it one hundred percent. It clearly breaks the law and there is a risk for me personally. But I have done what I can to minimize the risks,” Endersten says.
Though I think this is an interesting piece of work in general, what grabs me in regard to pervasive play is the fact that the audience thought that the plain clothes police officers were part of the installation. Also, the clash between ethics (consenting adults engaged in an activity that has an artistic and societal goal) and legality (drugs are illegal) is something we discuss in the upcoming book. Urban exploration and other public space movements face similar problems.
Post based on reporting in Aftenposten (Norwegian), Dagens Nyheter (Swedish) and Helsingin Sanomat (Finnish). I haven’t found this reported in English yet. Photograph by the artist, quoted from Aftenposten.