Weit Weit Weg
Media criticism seems implicit in Bjørn Melhus’ method. Somewhat stranger and more provocative however, is the thematic content of his work, namely his use of American media characters as a means of coming to terms with his own childhood. The three parts of this programme, which can be read as a trilogy, are central to this process. The first is Weit Weit Weg, in which Bjørn Melhus appears as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz and attempts to make contact with the world over the rainbow, namely America. What initially appears to be a comical and hopeless attempt to bring together the real Bjørn Melhus and the imaginary character from his childhood TV world takes a tragic turn when we learn it is dedicated to Melhus’ sister, Britta, who committed suicide. The rainbow is in Weit Weit Weg a symbolic medial bridge between two worlds and, at the same time, a bridge between the living and the dead. Dorothy’s androgyneity is a reflection of both Britta and Bjørn Melhus; he replaces that which is irreplaceable (1).
(1) The tragic sibling motif features even more clearly in The Oral Thing, in which Bjørn Melhus plays a brother and a sister in an American TV confession.
Bjørn Melhus, DE 1995 [excerpt], dt. OF mit engl. UT