Dynamic Seclusion: Nordic Noir and Digital Culture
by Jonatan Habib Engqvist
The chapter examines the ‘Nordic’ term in relation to art in detail and with thorough attention to its coming about and philosophical complexity in the Nordic cultural context. He identifies a dynamic of seclusion as a consequence of recent technological developments, namely the personalization and filtering of the Internet, causing isolation of individuals and communities. He evokes a common aesthetic notion of ‘Nordique noir’ – relating to artistic themes of isolation, alienation, and eventually, escapism – as an artistic effect of this dynamic and a response to the dematerializing welfare state, depression and high suicidal rates in the Nordic region. Engqvist however points to a rise of a potentially different direction for art in the conception of ‘Nordic magical realism’, transfiguring in cultural modes of absurdity and humour and perhaps to be traced in a desire recently emerging for the spiritual and imagination. With this he suggests a potential politically persuasive horizon from which new meaning, relevance and a newfound intelligence for Nordic culture and contemporary art might arise.