A lively neighbourhood

32 - Byavisa, February 6th 2007

STJØRDAL – SVARTLAMOEN: - I feel an authoritative, masculine presence in the apartment building. It likes to dictate and goes from apartment to apartment, says Halvard Nordfjæran.

We are on our way to Svartlamoen, an area of Trondheim which has for many years been marked by an uncertain future with struggles against demolition of buildings, industry problems and an alternative youth environment.

Originally, Svartlamoen was a disparaging name for the ”worst” part of  Lademoen which lies on the north side of the railway track. Sverre Farstad and Hjalmar ”Hjallis” Andersen grew up there. During the 1990’s, the hard core of the magazine Folk & Røvere and the band Motorpsycho lived in this area. Israelvis and Erlend Loe also have close ties to Svartlamoen.

In an alternative society like Svartlamoen, uncontrolled/uncensored things can happen more often.  Svartlamoen personifies the wish of many people to ask questions about the different ways in which we live. – To relate to Svartlamoen will, in many cases, mean that one dares to ”let go”, says Anne Helga Henning in the project group, ”Beyond Control”. The population of Svartlamoen is 200, divided among 24 municipality-owned and 3 private houses.

Unexplainable things are said to have happened in the old workers’ houses. Presence is felt. Observations of shadows occur often. As we pass the toll booth at Ranheim, Nordfjæran writes in his notebook: ”A man. Standing erect with a determined air about him. Wearing dark clothing. Likes to dictate over others. Goes from apartment to apartment. Also some activity in the cellar, the 2nd floor and the attic.” We meet the delegation from the art project “Beyond Control” outside Café Ramp.

A half hour later, Nordfjæran told us the following:
- I feel a feminine spiritual energy in the café. One that floats through the house and is both cheerful and sad at the same time. It is looking for someone or something.

Shortage of time and many café guests make further search impossible this time. We visit the apartments in Strandveien 25. A crowd follows in Nordfjæran's tracks. The artists are there with both cameras and their own film photographer.

- The people who lived here were poor, is Halvard Nordfjæran's immediate comment. He looks towards the back door.  
- An old woman uses that door. She goes up to the third floor, says Nordfjæran. And is told at once that the door is seldom used. We continue up the stairs. He stops on the 2nd floor.  
- There are two here. A woman and a child. Farther down the hall there are 2 doors, one on either side. - There is a lot of spiritual traffic between them, he says.

Chaotic energy reigns on the next floor.  
- There are many energies here. A lot of stress and chaos.

A woman in the next apartment invites us in. She tells about unrest and the constant feeling that she and her daughter don’t have the apartment to themselves. After a quick tour of the rooms, Nordfjæran says:
- The energy is sympathetic. It is an older woman who wants to be here as a helper, one who is kind. The tenant tells that the feeling started when they moved her great-grandmother’s sofa into the apartment.. Her daughter has even drawn a picture of this old woman. The stereo in the bedroom turns itself on and off seemingly without reason. She wonders if the deceased came along with the sofa but doesn’t want to have the spirit removed. We leave the apartment.

The tenant on the first floor in "The Blue House” has just moved in. There are stories of many people who have had a variety of experiences in this house. The new tenant hasn’t noticed anything special.
- I can feel a sort of traffic artery. Up from the stove to the 2nd floor. There is also something behind the stove in the kitchen.
- Interesting that you say that. I have felt that the space behind the stove was sort of special and scary. Don’t know why. The woman wonders if it’s possible to share a room with such spirits.
- Yes, if they are friendly one can talk to them. And they gladly listen. There is also something in the kitchen upstairs. The area was originally a barn and a stable. Nordfjæran thinks that a feminine energy is still present from the time when the stable was there. One of the tenants on the 2nd floor tells of an experience where a man stood and pointed at her. – It might have been a dream but it felt very real.  

Svartlamoen Boligstiftelse rents the area from the municipality and has the economic responsibility for the development of the area. The board consists of representatives from both the tenants and the municipality. It is the Tenants’ Meeting with a big T that takes care of most of the administration. At these meetings, everybody present has a vote. The daily administration and maintenance is taken care of by the tenants divided into various groups along with the 3 employees of the foundation. Last fall a free culture and rock festival was held here. On our way back to the other building, Nordfjæran fells that the filming is getting rather intense. He turns around suddenly and looks directly into the camera lens and shouts “Boo!”. The atmosphere become lighter. The film maker exclaims enthusiastically that that will be perfect for the film. We are admitted to the apartment exactly where Nordfjæran saw a woman and child standing on the steps.
- When I came into the apartment I saw three people sitting on the couch. They reside here. They go from apartment to apartment.

In the next apartment Nordfjæran senses the authoritative man. We can’t get in there. The tenant tells us that she has never felt comfortable in a certain corner of the apartment.
- I’ve always been a little nervous there, she tells us.
Out in the snow-covered street, a previous Svartlamoen tenant tells that there have been many stories about a man in that particular apartment.
- Ten years ago or more, there was a woman living there who supposedly was bothered by a man with rubber boots who wanted her out of the house. Others have also experienced the same. Another tenant tells that her partner takes part in funerals and wonders if that can explain some of the unrest.
- It is possible that some come to visit, confirms Nordfjæran.
And adds:
- You can’t see the air you breathe either, but you can’t stop breathing because of that.


”The Blue House”  in Svartlamoen has more life than the untrained eye can see. Halvard Nordfjæran thinks that the area around the stove acts as a spiritual traffic artery.

Film photographer Mona Undisdatter followed Halvard Nordfjæran's wandering around Svartlamoen very closely.

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