HD VIDEO, 25 min., 2010
Norwegian with English Subtitles
Time flows through the bottleneck of an hourglass like grains of sand. One after another, gravity pulls them through this centre of the earth. Where is this centre and what happens to time there? Absurd but yet full of internal logic, THE CENTER OF THE WORLD charts what happens when time does not necessarily progress linearly in one direction.
The Norwegian City of Sandnes is well known for its bicycle brand DBS, a clay flute in shape of a cuckoo-bird and the teenage online poker star Annette Obrestad. In 2010 the city celebrated it’s 300 years anniversary in a two directional way: 150 years back in time when it was founded in 1860 and 150 years into the future, the year 2160. By locating itself in the middle of a 300-year-timeline, it became the center of the world.
Space-Time-Migrant: Bjørn Melhus
Space-Time-Scientist: Ole Melhus
Space-Time-Boy: Lukas Melhus
Teacher: Ottar Berg
Soccer Team: Oyvind Berg, Odin, Bard & Ulvar Brykjedal Berg
Written, directed, edited and produced by: Bjørn Melhus
Camera: Mike Jarmon
Additional Camera and Assistance: Frederik Wik & Lukas Melhus
Additional Super 8 Footage: The Community of Sandnes
Commissioned by: KINOKINO, Sandnes, Norway, Arts Council Norway, Sandnes 2160
“The Center of the World” has several layers. It is on the one hand, a fictional story about time travel as part of the city’s anniversary, the city in the past and the present, and on the other hand some questioning moment about Melhus’ own “national” identity (born and raised in Germany with Norwegian passports, who hardly speaks any Norwegian and who lived for a time in the US). All this is mixed into a collage – a wild journey through different film genres.
Sandnes seems like a city that has always seen itself more in the future than in its past. With all the good sides as well as the adverse outcomes, it is truly a city of twentieth century modernism. The city’s idea of projecting their anniversary into the future is really interesting. Usually cities celebrate their history and past, while this city also celebrates the coming 150 years in addition to the past 150 years. And in the middle is the present. It seems that we are now at the center of a 300 year old history. As we are in the future focal point, we are at the world midpoint!