By Michèle Oshima: When it is arctic outside, there are various indoor pursuits that transport one away. Counter-intuitively, I’ve virtually travelled to other cold places, Denmark and Sweden this January. I must confess I’ve been bitten bad by the Norse Noir TV series (The Bridge), all 3 seasons of The Killing, and Borgen. I’ve been to both Denmark and Sweden a couple of times and it is great to revisit through these programs. They’re only available on DVDs that don’t play in the US, so I invested in an all-region portable DVD player. Fortunately, I watched the first and am watching the last series with friends on their bigger TV. After 60+ hours of hearing Danish, I recognize many cognates from German, for example, furucht (crazy) and arbeit (work).

I’m fascinated by the Norse cultural, arts and design (product, architecture, interior, and graphic) references. Given their reduced daylight in the winter, I was keen to see the alternative lighting options which I wish we had here! The gender politics are intense. The inter-ethnic tensions and treatment of different immigrant communities and Islam provide context for issues I’ve followed since the Danish cartoon crisis of 2005. My next blog installment will cover Norse Noir novelists.

Michèle Oshima, Director, Sorenson Center for the Arts