Curated by Malin Barth og Gitte Sætre

At Kunsthall 3,14

Voss-Knude is inspired by the political theorist Chantal Mouffe’s proposal that democracy is built on a constant flux of agnostic negotiation rather than stasis and agreement. The Anti-Terror Tour is a traveling exhibition that explores how we prepare for conflict. The exhibition encourages us to rethink the existing logic of territorial defense politics. The norm still is to reproduce stereotypes of ethnic profiling and fighting terrorist attacks with walls and weapons. We could instead choose to lessen social gaps and build safety based on inclusion and diversity

Morals and social justice are discussed in Voss-Knude exhibition The Anti-Terror Tour. In this project he leaks from, and takes a critical stand against, a literary phenomenon called KRISØV-17.  It is a piece of speculative fiction utilized for national terror exercises and produced by the Danish Emergency Management Agency. In the storyline, all potential terrorists are described solely as Muslim or ‘dark-skinned’. A shopkeeper is the mastermind of the terror cell. Why is he described in erotic terms? A translated excerpt: A drop of water ran down his skin, andsliding down his muscular upper body and along his shaved cock, before falling to the wooden floor leaving a small wet mark that quickly vanished in the hot sun. 

The author behind this narrative explained to Voss-Knude, that this plot was inspired by the American Netflix series Homeland. A series widely criticized for its islamophobia. After the exercise was over, the narrative was turned into an erotic crime thriller published privately by the writer. However bizarre this sounds; the main problem is that such texts pass as valid descriptions of who our enemies are and what we should fear. Would we have been better prepared for other crisis’, had our imagination not been based on sexualized, colonial, and market-driven fantasies? 

Voss-Knude is not only criticizing stereotypes, but he also points to the fact that this extremely powerful institutional voice from Danish intelligence, paints its scenarios based on pop culture and entertainment. The storyline functions as a tool for reaffirming a white, western and heterosexually patriarchal worldview. Acts of terrorism performed by white, right-wing nationals have created some of the most disturbing events in the West. KRISØV-17 is literal proof that we live in a poorly written Hollywood movie and that world leaders find difficulties in differentiating between entertainment and statistical probabilities. The fourteen songs on The Anti-Terror Album that plays in the exhibition is written as a direct counter-response to this. Protest songs are vibrating the walls in the exhibition hall.

This year we have been terrorized by Covid-19; invisible and without smell or sound, nor carrying any passport. Comparing the threats posed by the virus to threats of a terrorist attack is to some extent relevant by its sheer destructive force, and how the virus has created public and media disruption and fear. The difference is, however, that the terrorist has a political aim whereas the virus may have political consequences. If we were to argue that the virus is a terrorist and holds a lesson to humanity, we would have to adopt ancient Greek or another animistic world views. The Gods would rage against a world out of balance that provides opportunities for the virus to grow. Where can we find visionary leaders with concepts of safety that discourages terror?

On the bat’s journey through the artist studio, it merged with the Rose Quartz while Voss-Knude was listening to a press conference by New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern during the pandemic lockdown. To his great surprise, her administration considers both the tooth fairy and the Easter egg bunny as essential workers. Stressing the importance of imagination, play and of creative modes of being there for one another, even more during a pandemic. This worldview exists ‘out there’, and Voss-Knude wants to remind us of that. The relentless optimism of the Prime Minister shines through in her actions based on intersectional, feminist solidarity, and feminist actions that could be an ongoing source of inspiration to others.

​Alternative ways of being in the world are not romantically naive, but possible and as real as the other normal dogmas we pursue. Peter Voss-Knude has decided to be quite literal in attributing the thoughts of the New Zealand Prime Minister as part of the actual material that has gone into the production of the exhibition’s visionary strategy. He has donated 20% of the exhibition production budget to her 2020 re-election campaign. This to mimic how Ardern and her ministers gave themselves a 20% pay cut in solidarity with those who lost their jobs during the lockdown. 

The exhibition is not only a tour of questioning the structure of our sociological landscape. Its form and content set its sights on dissolving the separation between critical artistic work and the war on terror. Voss-Knude is an artist aspiring to use his artistic practice to contribute to future politics – ambitions that are as difficult as they are bold. The Anti-Terror Tour presents moments of queer emancipation that encourages us to bombard our bodies and minds with speculations on beauty, solidarity, resistance, and song. 

Screenshot 2020-01-12 at 10.25.28


The Anti-Terror Album

Friday, January 24, 2020 – Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Peter Voss-Knude

With The Anti-Terror Album, Peter Voss-Knude turns the language of terrorism inside out, offering new takes on what anti-terror measures ought to look like.
The Anti-Terror Album is a pop album and an art exhibition. The music and presentation were created in response to ‘KRISØV 2017’ – a document used as a framing narrative for the Danish national crisis management exercise, a major disaster drill for Danish authorities held every two years.
For several years now, Peter Voss-Knude has worked with military issues and Denmark’s contemporary involvement in war, exploring the theme in a field where art, politics and anthropology intersect. As part of this work, he got access to the document he now addresses in music and art.
The narrative in ‘KRISØV 2017’ deals with a series of fictional terrorist attacks perpetrated in North Jutland by Islamic fundamentalists. Over the course of 48 hours, representatives from official authorities such as the Danish National Police, the Danish broadcasting corporation and the Danish government played through the narrative’s plot in real time: a fictional scenario rehearsed and enacted as if it were real. A piece of fiction in which all perpetrators are Muslim or Arab, and any suggestion that terrorist threats might come from other quarters is left out.
‘To my mind, “KRISØV 2017” is highly  problematic. I see the document as a kind of Freudian slip of the Danish psyche. After all, the scenario was not written for the general public, but for internal use by the country’s leaders and authorities, and it provides unique insight into the psychology behind the anxieties and bogeymen at work in our society. The narrative is full of stereotypical terrorist characters and includes some bizarre and inappropriate details that have no place in an emergency drill,’ says Peter Voss-Knude.

As part of his research for The Anti-Terror Album, Peter Voss-Knude interviewed the author of ‘KRISØV 2017’.
‘He told me, among other things, that he had taken much of the story from the American television series Homeland, which has been widely criticised for being Islamophobic. I had no sense of him being aware and critical of the power and immense responsibility he holds as author of a consensus-creating narrative for a major national crisis management drill. But what scares me the most is that the Danish Emergency Management Agency have approved the text,’ says Peter Voss-Knude.
With The Anti-Terror Album, Peter Voss-Knude turns the entire concept of anti-terrorism upside down. To him, the real terror is not an external threat. Rather, the terror stems from our own fears and prejudices that are fed by narratives such as ‘KRISØV 2017’. And from the imagined threats that we ourselves build up and manifest, for example in the form of physical anti-terror barriers.
Peter Voss-Knude offers his own take on alternative forms of anti-terror measures. One of the focal points of the exhibition is a 1.1 tonne slab of pink quartz – an anti-terror barrier made out of beautiful pink crystal, protecting its environs against terrorist attacks not just physically, but spiritually too.
The music on The Anti-Terror Album also constitutes a kind of protection against terror and terrorism. ‘If you listen to the music on this record, you’ll be less terrorised,’ says Peter Voss-Knude.
The album features tracks such as ‘Who Is Your Criminal’, which investigates our scapegoats and ideas about enemies, as well as ‘Jacinda’ – a tribute to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s visionary and humanitarian handling of the terrorist attack in Christchurch. The lyrics are a direct response to the language used in ‘KRISØV 2017’ and to the narratives that infuse the coverage of terrorism in the media.
The Museum of Contemporary Art is proud to present The Anti-Terror Album – Peter Voss-Knude’s first solo exhibition at a Danish museum. The exhibition is supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union and it is part of 4Cs: From Conflict to Conviviality through Creativity and Culture – a European Cooperation Project where eight cultural institutions explore how the values and ideals of Europe are currently facing pressure.

Please press here to download press release


THE LANGUAGE OF TERROR IS TERROR ITSELF […] is an exhibition and the first chapter in a series of events that centres around “KRISØV17” – a narrative of a fictional terror attack that was written as an exercise in national terror preparedness. The exercise had several hundred participants including all major institutions of society. In the show, I am exploring three languages of terror, firstly through the architectural language of barricades popping up everywhere as urban security and deterrence measures. Secondly in the speculative fiction of KRISØV in which all perpetrators are Muslim or Arab, leaving out any conception of threats originating from right wing and white supremacy and thirdly, the responsibility of journalism in reporting about a topic that is proven to increase in relation to the amount of headlines it receives. The boldest proposition I am intending to ask through this exhibition is if governmental tools already in place to counter terrorism are overlapping with those of the spiritual medium? Stone circles around a parliament, a speculative fiction that creates politically biased consensus’ and forecasting the future by predicting the unpredictable, to me suggest this link. But what system of beliefs are we then basing our counter terrorism on?



Peter Voss-Knude har gennem flere år arbejdet med soldaten, militæret og samtidens danske krigsdeltagelse i et krydsfelt mellem kunst, politik og antropologi, og har blandt andet udgivet to pop-albums skrevet i samarbejde med det danske forsvar.
I dag åbner han en udstilling i Demorummet på Galleri Image i Århus. Et af de to værker udstillingen består af er denne podcast hvor Kaptajn Simon Ekelund blandt andet læser en akademisk analyse af Peter Voss-Knudes arbejde med militæret, skrevet af Ann-Katrine Schmidt Nielsen.