28 June 2012

Mocking birds

As a contribution to the international contemporary art show Life Clock, artists Julius Von Bismarck and Julian Charriere have been painting on Copenhagen wildlife. 34 pigeons have been captured, painted with food dye, photographed and re-released. Making for a really spicy advertisement for the duration of the show, with six weeks until the paint is expected to wear off.

In an interview with the Kopenhagen Art Institute the curators of the show calls the dye job harmless, and admires how the low status bird have been elevated to something extraordinary. Unsurprisingly the ornithologists are not amused.



I spotted a couple of the pigeons on Town Hall Square, both separated (or outcast?) from the grey flock, and each other, and seriously stressed by people chasing them down to take their picture. I was trying to keep my distance, using the zoom, but even so I too must have been a stress factor.

I am torn because I think they look really beautiful in colors. But at the same time I don't agree with the arrogance that lies behind painting on living creatures. Especially not if it causes them harm. Even if I am not a pigeon fan (I too call them flying rats), and I mostly feel sorry only for myself when I see one flattened on the road, they are still animals. Not ours to paint on or otherwise abuse.

Orange feet

Two sets of orange feet.

Deformed, tinted Copenhagen pigeon

The crippled pigeon. Now with paint. I want to apologize to this bird.

It is hard to imagine that there was a time when you at this very spot would buy pigeon seed at 10 øre a bag.

Due foder 10 øre

What are your thoughts on this, I wonder?

Den Frie (centre of contemporary art) 
Life Clock (the exhibition introduced in English)

26 June 2012

A thin red line

The bicycle super highway

The red line of the new bicycle superhighway. Leading the way with a subtle red line is so cool, but unfortunately it is not there permanently, once this layer wears off, it turns into a guessing game. At least it is a start. Maybe the citizens will have to paint it in all the colors of the rainbow, to help each other out? Who's to stop them, anyway?


Anything is possible. I sometimes forget that.


This color is out to cheer me up.


It's a mission very much accomplished.

25 June 2012


Danish summer

Where do I complain?

22 June 2012

Greetings from Classic Copenhagen!

What if someone made something so crazy photogenic that you had to take a load of pictures of it? And what if they then contacted you and said: hey, we love your pictures, come see us. And you did. And they graciously offered to use your pictures, and possibly more like it, in their press kit, with no other compensation than the credit. What then?

Maybe you would feel less inclined to take even more pictures of this extraordinary project. Just because you would now feel like an underestimated idiot. But even if you to their great disbelief declined this generous offer, you recognized your pictures all over the amazing internet, as other bloggers found them extremely useful. Then, you would have to find a way to express your great love for this space, without feeling like at useful fool.

For instance, if that place happened to be Superkilen, featuring the yummy red square, the crazy neon signs and the giant Japanese octopus, with the grand opening today... the ideal compromise would look something like this:

 Stripey hill, Superkilen

The black market, Superkilen

A short recap for those of you unfamiliar with Superkilen:
Superkilen (The Super Wedge) is part of a major urban lift in Mjølnerparken, a troubled area of Copenhagen. It consists of three zones: the red square, the black market and the green park, and it stretches across a large area with a bike track going through it.

The area, like the rest of Nørrebro, has a large share of immigrants. This is reflected in Superkilen, with well over a 100 items like trashcans, playground items, neon signs, benches and manhole covers imported from more than 50 different countries.

Star shaped fountain

A corner of the big Moroccan starshaped fountain, on the black market. Keeping my friend, the giant Japanese octopus company.

If you mess with the bull...

The Spanish Osborne Bull, a huge flat sign made of iron imported from Costa del Sol. It reminds me of the old saying: if you mess with the bull, you get the horns. Of course it is the colored parts that gets me. Juicy benches from Prague, Czech Republic:

Benches on Superkilen

A bird hotel

And my new favorite: the bird hotel, from Hjørring in Denmark. Although you may not think of them as immigrants, the Jutlanders make up a great percentage of the Copenhageners. This one is to make them feel at home. Ah, I get all warm and fuzzy inside.

Super Wedge link fest:
Superkilen on Classic Copenhagen

Greetings to all from Classic Copenhagen!

(Hahaha, I can't stop laughing)

20 June 2012


Last week I passed by this space in my neighborhood and noticed a huge artwork on the storefront, on what appeared to be opening night. The next day I returned to give it a closer look.

Hair dressers storefront

By Swet.

Splatter detail

Splatter detail.

It's a hair salon, and the foil on the windows only stayed up for a few days. This is what it looks like now:


Still cool. We need more funky storefronts in Copenhagen.

And further down the street there is a serious dent in the road. If you remember it is there it is fine, fun even, but if you don't, stuff is bound to bounce out of your basket/bag/pockets. Second splat of the week:


How yum is this?



Finding that pen was a huge improvement on my day. Funny how that goes, huh?

18 June 2012

Invasion of the lemon suckers

My neighborhood is invaded by people who have no sense of community and sharing. Yesterday was the outdoor flea market, and the weather was evil. Windy and rainy. Visitor count was low and everybody looked like they had sucked lemons. Some had moved the fleas out of the rain and into the gates leading into the fenced off backyards. I stood at the entrance and looked in, just to see what was hidden behind all these houses. A woman yelled at me: "Excuse me! HELLO!" "This is private property, please respect that." "I am just looking, is it causing you any harm?" "It is causing the co-op board harm!" Seriously? This is no different that the bullies at Folkets Park, yelling at you to get out.

It makes me sick to my stomach that my cosy hood is swarmed with these people. They lived here for five minutes, bought a share in an apartment, and now they feel in their right to scold the neighbors for even glancing at their garden. Yuck!

Fortunately others are more welcoming:


Vesterbro by the meat packing district. 

Stop and join

Stop and join.

That's more like it.

16 June 2012

Unscheduled stops

Some people live planning their day/week/life well in advance, micromanaged down to the minute. Not me. Even if it can prove difficult in a society that likes things organized in a certain way, and most people get antsy if you suggest something at short notice. But once in a while it really pays off to keep a flexible calendar. Like the other day.

The city has agreed to make a test with 16 aluminum test tubes, at selected locations for the duration of the summer. If all goes well they should be up in about three weeks. The Copenhagen Post wanted to do a follow-up story about it, and within ten minutes of the email, I was on the bike, heading for the offices in the meat packing district. It was totally liberating to meet someone ready for that kind of expediency.

As I exited The CPH Post headquarters, I noticed a guy playing around with neon orange duct tape. 


It turned out to be photographer Lars Bech, doing fat orange arrows on the ground, leading visitors to a photographers group show Big Bang, part of the Copenhagen Photo Festival. He offered me a small tour of the show. Some of his work:

A composite portrait of a guy, pictured in a game he designed.

And this is so good. Bech was commissioned to do a portrait of Queen Margrethe II. But there were so many rules and restrictions surrounding it: no assistants, please, no flash equipment, please, bowing, backing and so on, that he ended up asking if he was even allowed to bring a camera? He was, of course, but under the circumstances he chose to do his portrait of our Queen mother with his camera phone.

To get enough light, he had to position the Queen by the window. This is almost poetic, with a double set of windows.. Sweet Margrethe.

I sort of interrupted him in preparing for the opening night, but first we needed to nerd out about the fact that I was wearing arrow matching shoes. Tiny photo shoot ensued: "pull up your jeans, more, show me some heel", "my nail polish is not matching, I am mortified!". "We'll fix that in photoshop, don't worry". So funny.

(Photo: Lars Bech)

You can't plan these things, that's all I'm saying.

Big Bang (the show)
Copenhagen Photo Festival (7th-17th of June)

10 June 2012


After moving the beer production out of Copenhagen, Carlsberg is developing into a city of its own. I subscribe to the Carlsberg City newsletter and I applaud the many initiatives, but after many a bumpy ride up and down the cobblestones leading to the famous Elephant Gate, I had sort of given up on ever finding a way in. Seriously, the signage at that place is a joke. My previous attempt was last year, and as I left the premises I was screaming profanities all the way out, haha. I was so angry. 

The signage haven't improved, apparently it is still a big secret how to get there, but yesterday I finally managed. There should have been a brass band in place marking the event, or something. I came to hear a photographer speak, but all of ten minutes in, I was itching to sneak out and point my own camera at something. Sitting still for lectures, taking notes, not participating... it just drives me crazy. I left my blogging friend AmarOrama in her seat, and pretended I had to go to the bathroom.

Red wine cleanup

Look, a bathroom present: someone spilled red wine. This was a sure sign that I had made the right move.

View from the bathroom. There is no filter quite like the grimy window. Very 1970s, mmm.

City forest

View from the 5th floor, a city forest. 

And the urban beach. I wonder if it is ever in use?

Carlsberg urban beach

Carlsberg urban beach

The lecture was part of Copenhagen Photo Festival and the building was scattered with photographs. Some suspended in the air, and kept in line with hex nuts and heavy bolts.

Hex nut balance

(Taking pictures of other photographers work feels like cheating, it just feels wrong.. is that strange?) The building is abandoned, completely peeled, with the feel of a giant indoor parking space. Industrial in that sexy way. Still, it was the view that demanded my full attention.



And outside the yum continued.

Galleri Nicolaj Wallner

Gallery Nicolai Wallner. Crazy good.

As it has been the case with quite a few things that I tend to avoid, I ended up really happy that I went. Otherwise I would have missed all this. And now that I finally lost my Carlsberg cherry, I will definitely return and explore it further. I will just have to give them a little time to organize that brass band.

Copenhagen Photo Festival 7th to 17th of June 2012

08 June 2012

Good fences

Good fences make for good neighbors. When it comes to my neighbor (a.k.a. the neighbor from hell) he is at his best when he is not having friends over on weeknights, for shouting matches and video game nights next to my bedroom, until the sun rises. You know? 


Blød Lykke (soft happiness) at the kindergarten fence. 


I think she (?) is on to something here, it seems wrong to cage children like animals. An effort should be made to communicate how it is to keep them safe and happy, and not just locked in. Even a layer of paint would make a difference.


Blød Lykke believes in a wonderful spring and summer.

I wish I could be as optimistic..

So far this happens to be as close as we get to summer in Copenhagen. 



It is wet, cold and windy, almost fall like. I am not impressed.

04 June 2012

Hello graffiti

What is this? I find myself gravitating towards what I have up until now only thought of as a uniform blur: graffiti. Not the senseless tagging you find on mailboxes and the old bridge, but the wild, elaborate and colorful pieces, lining the waterfront in an old industrial area of Copenhagen. I was invited along for a ride (never again shall I put off such an offer), and by the end of the day 400 shots in, both head and camera was spinning. There was so much and it is replaced so fast that I have to return. And one piece that is so long and so mad that the context can only be conveyed on film. It will have to be a drive by shooting, one hand on the handlebar, one eye on the viewfinder and full steam ahead.


No, this is not it, but still good. And check the hexagonal floor pattern, oh.




Serious peeling going on all over the place. I got lost in the rubble, mmmm the colors.




If that doesn't make you feel alive? 

But nothing beats the stone face. 

Stone face

Stone face

Stone face

It's a love thing.