29 October 2010

In the zone

According to my inner sense of balance, I owe you a brief but happy post. This friday has been good, with lots of daylight (sleep pattern semi-restored, fingers crossed), and a couple of surprises. Like the strange zone-signs that keeps popping up. Possibly part of some happening, and definitely too "done" to be by a starving artist. I don't mind the mystery.

Reading zone sign

Reading zone

Reading zone

Swap zone

Swap zone

Silent disco zone




I have a small project I am dying to tell you about, but it is too soon. Uh... I can't wait. 


Have a nice weekend!


28 October 2010

One for the road

Due to a glitch in my sleep pattern I am up at a way too early hour these days, and this has exposed me to a new development in  Copenhagen that I could easily have been without. The other morning, when the light outside finally turned pink, I realised there would be no sleep, and instead I went for a ride on my bike. Well.. almost. I got as far as to the lake at the end of my road, and it was like a crowded highway, only with bicycles. A mother was standing by with her young son, bicycles at side, waiting for a space to enter, and they were both intimidated by the aggressiveness. It was similar to deciding when to jump into a revolving door, moving a little too fast. His mother yelled at him now, NOW, go ahead I'll catch up, and he just managed to get his small bicycle in motion before he was eaten by the next wave. I was standing in the pedestrian area, parallel to the bicycle lane, trying to get a proper shot of it all, when a very aggressive woman racing by yelled "move to the side, auntie". I was not even in her path. Unbelievable.

Further down the road I had a chat with one of the men working hard to widen the bicycle lanes, starting on the bridge, and he was chocked too. He told me that several of his men had been torpedoed by bicycles as they tried to cross the lanes during work. Let me just point out that you can not torpedo anyone unless you are moving at a very high speed. If you ride at a normal speed, you can avoid collisions by simply putting a foot down. Racing on crowded lanes in populated areas is nothing but a display of poor judgement.

It is not about bicyclists, or bicycles, but about people behaving badly. And I am ashamed of them, how odd is that? The flow on the bicycle lane should be human, constant, of course, but if you want to race like a maniac and torpedo people, you don't belong on the road. This grotesque way of riding is probably responsible for people buying into the ridiculous bicycle helmets in the first place (as a matter of fact most of the bullies wear helmets, coincidence?). A vicious circle if there ever was one. I am going to come up with some kind of lecture for these assholes, I swear. This has got to stop.

Ah, those were the bicycle days:


Tip: if you want to fast forward to the undiluted bicycle action, go to 6.18.

This video is almost impossible to find anymore, they keep taking it off, I hope this one survives, even if it is a grainy copy. You must fogive the speaker for his 1930ish "the white man" line, he knew no better at the time. In the end they have a nice full shot of my bridge, Dronnings Louises Bridge, the very one they are widening the bicycle lanes on right now, it is a sign of beauty, I am moved to a mush every time.

Oh, and notice the "numerous repair stations scattered across the city", where did they go?


Update: Here is a link to Cykelhjelm.org a site that explains why the helmet does more harm than good. It is in Danish, but Google Translate is always up for an entertaining version.

26 October 2010

Burn, money, burn

What you are looking at is a part of Long Live Copenhagen, the City's latest campaign to limit our alcohol intake to 5. To achieve this 800 custom made inflatable bottles have been dumped in the Peblinge Lake, along with a sign invisible to anyone but the joggers running along the path. The bottles however are partly visible from the busiest road in the city, as were they designed to divert the attention of the drivers when they need it the most.

I counted all of 7 friendly men working on this, plus a three man crew in a small dingy. The bottles are scheduled to stay afloat for a total of 5 days, to work their magic... Every strand of hair on my body is erect. I am so incredibly allergic to being treated like an imbecile. Check out the print on the bottles: "Wasted, 100 percent lame". Can you believe they are getting away with treating grown ups like this? And then sticking them with the bill.

800 bottles of beer on the wall...


The 800 bottles symbolises the average annual intake of alcohol/units for Copenhageners past the age of 14. What? No giant dancing teddy bear to go with that image? How will we ever get the point?


Burn, money, burn.


Long Live Copenhagen campaign

1/3 of all Copenhageners drink too much. Long live those of us trying to cut back. 
Stop before 5. Long live Copenhagen.

100 percent lame

Wasted. 100 percent lame.

I couldn't agree more!

24 October 2010

HuskMitNavn

This friday was the opening night at V1 Gallery of street artist gone legit HuskMitNavn (RememberMyName), for a show that for once left me feeling happy and inspired. The humor and energy by far outshone the ever present posery crowd. In fact I walked around with a big grin on my face from I got there until I left, only a little frustrated that I do not have the finances to buy a single piece.

I still remember the early work I spotted by HuskMitNavn back in 2004, when it first hit the streets. I dug out a few shots from the archives, to give you an idea. He really have had his own style from the very beginning, and although his work is still instantly recognisable it has also developed. I am going to show you what I mean, but first check out the early days:

Breakfast for dinner again (and again again)

Breakfast for dinner again (March 2005)             Breakfast for dinner again again (Sept. 2004)

I can't face the truth

I can't face the truth (Sept. 2004)

He has come a long way since then, and is quoted one of the 100 most influential street artists in the world (however they figure that out), in the Gestalten book Beyond the Street. The latest show is called "Awaiting the upturn", with the gallery decked out as a waiting room, complete with a ticket roll, trashy literature, chairs, a children's play corner (making for some 3D action) and those waiting for the upturn. The "people" are cartoonish but oddly you still recognise most of them from your daily life. I am tempted to name a few, but I will play it safe for now, and let you figure them out for yourself. Take a number and a seat, the upturn may take its time getting here:












(Are you exited yet? I was walking on air after this! I'm gonna show you more..)







Last one. I could go on. If you want to see more, the show is running until the 20th of November. Or if you are not able to make it to the show, I made a set for you on Flickr with a few extras. Happy waiting.

22 October 2010

About me

Lately when I have been asking for advise, I am stopped half sentence and recommended to simply replace words with action. To just go ahead and do it. To a procrastinator this is pretty earth shattering. But putting things off and just talking about them have not really worked for me, so I am willing to try a new approach. Ever since I started this blog, the "about me" section has been taunting me, daring me to explain myself. So with no further delay I give you "about me":

I am the result of a one night stand, and as such the child of a single parent. I have seen plenty of examples of how well this scenario can turn out, but this was not one of them. The kindest thing I can tell you about my mother is that she was unfit to be one. But that did not stop her from having my sister, the younger child that in many ways became my responsibility. Against all odds we grew up, mainly due to some very responsible grandparents and a sweet elderly neighbour, that I can only now think of as angles. I was born and raised in Copenhagen, and I spent a large part of my not so childhood in the basement art gallery facing a church in the centre of the city.

Learning to read was at the time the single most important thing that had ever happened to me, and later learning to write saved my life. I suspect that growing up lonely has a lot to do with the way I see the world today. In some areas of life I am blind as a bat, but in others I see things perhaps more clearly than most.

By the time I finished high school I was fed up with being told what to do. I stuck it out on an empty stomach (I still don't understand how I could deny myself food, when I loved it so much), only because I loved singing, and being a part of a community. I got my own apartment, job and boyfriend, and managed to at least look like I fit in. And maybe I did. But as anyone who have been to or grew up in hell will tell you, the transition is not smooth. After a good fight I got accepted to the Danish School of Design's line of Fashion, where it took me nearly three years to recognise that my love for fashion lies in the accessories. 

I left for what I must be careful to call a series of extended visits to New York, and leave it at that. My boyfriend was a photographer, I was surrounded by cameras, all we had in the fridge was film, and still I did not see what was right in front of me. Blind as a bat, I tell you.

Later I worked as a stylist, which landed me (and my friend Pernelle Caspersen) a gig on Danish morning TV talking about fashion. I started my own company designing accessories, and it was only then that I finally got around to taking pictures. At the time the free postcards was a cool thing here, mainly because the art director was a woman with balls the size of watermelons, and her very own razor sharp sense of style. I can see no other explanation as to why she would allow the creative team that was me and my friend do this:

Pixelated stills

Heavily pixelated stills made from a small movie, with our favorite model Sara Bro.

Postcard paparazzi style

A kitchen shot from the paparazzi inspired series, intentional orange skin, flash, scrapings and all.

This was just an extension of what we did anyway: playing dress up with our friends, partying and taking pictures. It seemed only natural that we take it to the next level. With nothing resembling experience, a budget or a business plan we launched "Mamarazzi Studios" with a bang.

Once upon an invitation


Over the next year we transformed people with wigs, props and make up, my friend in charge of hair and make up, and me behind the camera, portraying women in a variety of identities. The dress up part was not about disguising who you were, but rather to uncover more sides. The prints were reworked with sandpaper, paint and anything we had handy. We got a lot of attention and a couple of front pages in the press, and we had truckloads of fun, but after a year of not getting paid, it was all we could afford. What a luxury it was to just do it, and how un-procrastinated of me, really, come to think of it.

Cecilie


Because of the concept it made sense to use people already known to most Danes, when building our portfolio, and fortunately they were happy to play with us. Above is TV hostess Cecilie Frøkjær.
Karen and Maria

Singers Miss Mukupa and Maria Montell

Iben

Actress Iben Hjejle.

Raised to believe there is no tomorrow, I never really planned for anything. Every penny I made from my design business I spend travelling the world and partying hard. Running. My last stop a few years back was the year I spend in Amsterdam. Only there did I realise how much I missed and love Copenhagen. I am finally done running. And with that came also the obvious subject of the blog I had been thinking about making. Which brings us to today.

(this is the longest post I have ever made, I wonder if you are still here?)

Even now that I have allowed for the concept of thinking long term, some things you just can't plan. If you know what I mean? All I know is that I am done procrastinating. Any day now.


19 October 2010

Peace please

By nothing more than a coincidence I came by the worlds smallest demonstration for peace today. It was held at the square in front of the Parliament, and what initially attracted me was the music and the bright colors. Women and children from all over the country had contributed to the ribbon, with handmade messages of peace and love, inspired by The Ribbon event that took place in Washington in 1985. On a truck a young man with a speaker phone was preaching to a small quire, arguing that the living conditions for the poor in Denmark, a fast growing population, is the price we pay for being at war.

All the Danish politicians had to do was lean out of the windows to see how small a part of the population gives a crap. It was truly heartbreaking. I learned that the peace watch has been present on the square every single day for nine years since Denmark joined the war in Afghanistan.

As I left the small gathering, I was wondering if we as a people have given up on the idea that we can make a difference? That anyone will hear us? I can't help but compare us to the French, a people who in my opinion understands the concept of solidarity, and who knows how to stand together and make themselves heard. Today it seemed like nobody was listening.

Peace on earth

Welfare now, not war
Welfare now, not war.

No to war
No to war.
The ribbon
A stranger is a friend you don't know - yet.
The new copper roof of the DK parliament
The Danish Parliament, with a brand spanking new copper roof. And I noticed the same goes for a lot of the city churches. It is always nice to see they've got their priorities straight.
Peace

18 October 2010

Hop on, we are going for a ride

I once had a friend, a very special man with a great sense of humor and an insight that I have missed ever since he passed away at a way too early age. Even though it has been a long time since he passed, I still feel like he is around, and one of the things he felt strongly about was not focusing solely on the holes in the cheese. I woke up in one of those holes today, and in the spirit of my old friend I decided to climb out and go look for some good news. So today I am taking you along with me for a ride, chronologically. See if maybe it will make you happy too.

At the cross section by the bridge they are working to make wider bicycle lanes, and where there is construction, with a little luck, there is Bert. I have been a fan of the giant nipples since the beginning, and I have enjoyed the many shapes they have appeared in, but this one was different..

The not nipple


Ah, now who feels like a dirty old man, seeing nipples where there are none?

On the bridge, I spotted this one, and I have long since learned to catch whatever it is you see when you can, don't assume you will get back to it/that it will still be around/that the light is still there. So I managed to piss of a couple of bicyclists by hitting the brakes to catch this one. Totally worth it.

Peace sign


And besides it got me in a cooler wave of bicyclists than the one I skipped, positioned behind this girl. Long straps! Anything and everything should come with long straps. Go, girl. Things were looking up.

Drive by shooting

And things were looking back.

Littlebrother smokin' on a pipe

Fat lip

Look at that fat lip, how can you help feeling better?

Friendly public telephone booths

A man hanging out on the bench next to these telephone booths was clearly disturbed by my photo session, and winded up leaving his spot. Even if this is a big city, we claim our space. This was mine.

Hello


On my way home I was tailing Yin & Yang, complementing each other in a way that made me oddly happy. They were fast and the light was fading but I caught them before they slipped away: 

Yin and Yang

I returned home a lot happier than when I left. Was it good for you too?

I miss you Jesper.

16 October 2010

The truth is up there

Once again I find myself in that undefined area, so hard to explain to those who either unconditionally love or hate street-utterings. The lovers think it is a free for all and that statues, mailboxes and cars are anyone's canvas. The haters think they should all be punished and forced to remove every trace. And in between there is me. Crying inside every time I see another beautiful red mailbox or statue vandalised with idiotic stickers and skid marks. I don't call them turds for nothing.

But only rarely do I disagree with anything written from or directly on the Copenhagen rooftops. Not even the canvas. Most, if not all of it is by a guy with the street name Spyo. I have been following his work for a while now, and I think it is time you get introduced. Don't look down..

We will never ask for permission!!!!

We will never ask for permission!!!

Up here we escape the rat race!!! 
Up here we escape the rat race!!!

Rot

Rot. 

Educate this


Shame on you, Birthe Ronn

Shame on you, Birthe Rønn. One for the Danish minister of Refugees, Immigrants and Integration.

Link: more Spyo on flickr.

14 October 2010

A rare vision

Although they are far between there are still a few shops selling locally made goods. One is the blind peoples brush shop. All of the brushes are made in Denmark, most of them right here in Copenhagen, and the most amazing part is that they are made by the blind. The brushes are hand crafted the traditional way, and the craftsmanship is of the highest quality. When I went to take my pictures, I had a nice talk with the kind people who run the store. They are blind as well. Have you ever noticed how often you use the word "see"? It kept coming up and I finally had to ask if it made them uncomfortable? "We don't change the language", the man said, "and besides we see too, only we use our fingers"... "but it can be difficult to hear for a person who have recently lost his vision". "I see", I said, and instantly wanted to kick myself in the face. You see how hard it is to keep that word out of the vocabulary?

The brushes are available online on the Blind Peoples Webshop, but they only ship domestically. I asked if they would consider selling to the rest of the world, but they are fully occupied servicing the locals as it is, and besides you can't rush a craft like that. Why, oh why are there not more places like this left? With locally produced goods of the finest quality? Insourcing is so much more modern and sustainable than outsourcing. Let the blind show the way.

1

The brushes come in more sizes and shapes than you can imagine...

2

...and there are no fixed purpose, you are encouraged to use them any way you see fit. 
That is if you have the heart to introduce them to anything dusty.

13 October 2010

Aiaiai

I am not trying to smother you with the happy posts, I swear, but life has a way of compensating you when you have had enough crap to go around. I have come across a piece of Danish design that hits me in all the same spots as Lego. It is a set of headhones by the brand possibly named after the high pitched sound you make when you unpack them: Aiaiai.

They come in the coolest color combinations and are constructed in a way that allows you to change it up. The attention to packaging is right up there with the quality of the sound, and yet they are affordable. No, this is not a sponsored message, I would never do that to you, I am just really, really exited to have found a way of breaking the proposed upcoming law against music for bicyclists. In style.

Aiaiai




Spare parts in different colors for mixing it up. The headphones clics into the dots, the dots slide in the frame, and once you adjust it, it stays in place. Danish design is back with a vengeance.



Every single thing about it is just cool. 



...you knew I had to get them in peach, didn't you?