Acting on your best behavior


Corten steel
260 × 180 × 120 cm

Commissioned by the City of Oslo for Granstangen middle School

The sculpture is placed in front of the school building, on a site made for outdoor social gatherings. It consists of corten steel replicas of different types of desks and tables in designs from different eras. They have been assembled and merged into each other, and together they form a chaotic and upwards-looking structure.

In the structure the tables have all lost their initial function as working platforms. Instead they form the function of an oven: wood can be burned in the bottom cupboard, and the smoke is let through the structure and out in the top drawer.

The desktop is something all students can relate to in one form or another, they meet them every single day and are the basis of the proper learning situation. Using them as a basis for a sculpture opens up for a different way of thinking about learning outcome, efficiency, and rules. The straight angles have all become a more dynamic steel structure.

From time immemorial to the present day has been gathered around the hearth, whether the fire at the cabin, or to make a fire in the woods. It is a safe and life-giving place, a contrast to the cold and dark. It is a place where stories are told, and friendships forged. Just like a campfire, this sculpture potentially has a social dimension and says something about the community the pupils are part of, both at school and in society at large.

The title Acting on your best behavior is from Tears for Fears’s song Everybody Wants to Rule the World, and the stack of desks can also read an ambivalence between the desire to be good at school, meet demands and expectations and the desire to do rebellion against just this, burning the text books in the bottom cupboard.