FEMTE VEGGEN (The Fifth Wall) was KOMMANDO's third project. This time it was graffiti, public space, how society treats minority's expressions that was the focus of their attention.

It consisted of a large graffiti painting and legal wall on the back side of Bergen Kunsthall (the gallery's "fifth wall"), political work, concerts and debates and a lot of media work. It was the biggest cultural story in the local and national press that summer (2003) and probably one of the best covered art projects in Norway the last ten years. The slogan was "Maybe not less graffiti, but better graffiti" (Kanskje ikke mindre graffiti, men bedre graffiti).

In 2004, KOMMANDO proposed a strategy for graffiti and street art in Bergen (Norwegian) and 7 years later, the municipality of Bergen adopted most of this strategy in their 4 year plan for graffiti and street art in Bergen (Norwegian).

The plan has an audacious goal:

"Bergen shall be a leading center for graffiti as a form of expression,
both in Norwegian and Nordic context.
The premises for the work of graffiti and street art should be
governed by the expression's visual and expressive character."

Here are some of the highlights in the strategy:

- Central and local legal walls for graffiti and street art

- Quick removal of unwanted graffiti

- No criminal persecution of graffiti artists, except in grave cases

- A coordinator for the graffiti strategy, employed by the municipality

- A yearly price for the best piece


A lot of documentation is sleeping with the old pages of KOMMANDO, and some is put below too.

Most of the documentation is in Norwegian, but here is a brief recollection what happened in the summer of 2003:

The 10th of May 2003, Fløibanen, the tram connecting the city centre with the closest mountain, was bombed with the words HIP HOP DON'T STOP. Since this tram is almost sacred to the people of Bergen, KOMMANDO was certain that zero tolerance on graffiti would be very close. A sergant from the New York Police Department, Robert Barrow, even held a lecture on his city's "successful" zero tolerance for the police and politicians in Bergen.

KOMMANDO recorded the lecture and Pål Nappen cut parts of it into his song SGT ROBERT BARROW:

 

To prevent zero tolerance, Morten Kvamme and Jørgen Larsson persuaded Bergen Kunsthall to let them use the back side of the house for a large graffiti project. Using local and national media, KOMMANDO argued that graffiti should be allowed as a part of the city's expressions. There was also a lot of time put into political work, to get the message accross to politicians and decision makers. The public part of the project then consisted of these parts:

1. A very good band of artists who painted pieces on the high part of the wall: Coderock, Much, Pay2, Sean66, Duck and Goal.
2. An exhibition of the band's tags on canvas in Bergen Kunsthall during the week of painting.
3. Friday there was a debate about graffiti at Landmark. DJ's and dancers.
4. The grand opening of the wall, DJs and dancers.
5. After the grand opening, the lower part of the wall was open for anyone to paint the next 9 months.
6. The wall had been waxed with anti-graffiti wax, and was sprayed off with hot water after 9 months.

The taking down of the wall created a gap and need for a long term legal graffiti wall. KOMMANDO opened a permanent wall at SENTRALBADET half a year later.


A debate between the leader of the city council in Oslo, Erling Lae, and the leader of the city council in Bergen, Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen on national radio the 2nd of August 2003:

 

A collection of pictures is HERE

Some of the media coverage from when the heat was on:

12.10.03 - Bergens Avisen: "Kristne taggere fjernet ond mann"

12.10.03 - Nordlys: "Kristne taggere fjernet verdens ondeste mann"

12.10.03 - Bergens Avisen: "Kristne taggere fjernet verdens ondeste mann"

12.10.03 - Oppland Arbeiderblad: "Kristne taggere fjernet verdens ondeste mann"

10.10.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Ondemannen overmalt"

30.09.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Politiet venter med å juble "

30.09.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Ikke tagge-smitte "

03.09.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Bygningsvern og graffiti"

31.08.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Fra lysmur til klagemur"

30.08.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Berømmer Bergens holdning til graffiti"

29.08.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Tre ungdommer pågrepet for tagging"

27.08.03 - Bergensavisen: "Dødsfett med graffiti"

26.08.03 - NRK: "Graffitiprosjekt tross motstand"

26.08.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Tøv om graffitihistorie"

26.08.03 - Bergenspuls.no: "Gangsterkunsten inn i gallerivarmen"

25.08.03 - Bergenspuls.no: "Her kommer graffitien"

22.08.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Kommunalt nei til graffitiveggen"

19.08.03 - P4: "Politi tok lovlige taggere"

19.08.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Lovlig graffiti stanset"

05.08.03 - Bergenspuls: "Undergrunnskunst til inspirasjon"

02.08.03 - Bergensavisen: "Oslo er gammeldags"

02.08.03 - Bergensavisen: "Ble kvitt taggerne - en stund"

02.08.03 - Nordlys: "Bergen slår tilbake"

01.08.03 - NRK: "Bergenserne er naive"

31.07.03 - Bergenspuls: "Graffitimalerne fikk kommunens ja"

31.07.03 - NRK: "Ja til graffiti i Bergen"

31.07.03 - NRK: "Ja til graffitivegg"

31.07.03 - NRK: "Mindre tagging i Oslo"

30.07.03 - NRK: "Taggerne koster 1,5 millioner"

21.07.03 - Bergenspuls.no: "Tomme ord om graffiti"

21.07.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Tomme ord om graffiti"

19.07.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Kriminelt bra kunst"

18.07.03 - Morgenbladet: "Skrekken for sprayboksen"

17.07.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Er dette hærverk eller kunst?"

11.07.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Taggere truer kunstløypen"

10.07.03 - Aftenposten: "Graffitivegg tirrer bergensere"

09.07.03 - NRK: "- Graffitikunst er spennende"

09.07.03 - NRK: "Kunstmuseum vil stanse kunst"

09.07.03 - NRK: "Grafittbråk i Bergen"

05.07.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Stopp den totalitære kampen mot graffiti!"

26.06.03 - Bergensavisen: "Ta tæggejævlene!"

13.06.03 - Bergens Tidene: "For et penere Bergen"

05.06.03 - Bergens Avisen: "Hærverk for 15 mill."

05.06.03 - Bergens Avisen: "Han er taggernes skrekk"

04.06.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Politiseminar om tagging og graffiti"

03.06.03 - NRK: "Graffitibråk i Bergen"

01.06.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Vil lage kjempegraffiti i Bergen"

30.05.03 - Bergens Avisen: "Trodde det var taggere"

22.05.03 - Bergensavisen: "Tagging på Fløibanen"

19.05.03 - Bergens Tidende: "En taggers tankespinn"

15.05.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Kunst og pøbelstreker"

14.05.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Her fikk taggerne boltre seg"

14.05.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Ønsker egen tagge-beredskap"

14.05.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Taggere er griser, ikke kunstnere"

13.05.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Taggere er ikke vandaler"

13.05.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Slik ble Oslo kvitt taggerne"

13.05.03 - NRK: "Fløibane-tagging en parodi"

12.05.03 - Bergensavisen: "«Kurt» stolt av taggingen"

12.05.03 - NRK: "Taggere på Fløibanen"

11.05.03 - Bergens Tidende: "Fløibanen angrepet av taggere"