Mapping the city

Copenhagen, research

This summer, I had the opportunity to take part in Mapping the City, a month-long research residency organized by Metropolis in Copenhagen. In exchange, I was asked to leave a trace in the city and write a diary. I’ve failed to keep one throughout my life, and manuscrits are only interesting after one’s death. I have not forgotten much, but I have re-written some of my notes. To learn more about my work during the residency, please visit Nordhavnstippen.

NEW PLACES, OLD HABITS

#minute_performances in Copenhagen

If you were to look away from the wall, you would see bricks to your right, glass and steel to your left. In front of you, a big boulevard. Cars come and go; they’re mostly black or white. A blue truck catches your eye, and there are not as many bikes as you’d have guessed. Pedestrians are scarce. You can’t see far beyond: another red building and its copper canopy stand in the way. On its facade, Scandic Hotel appears in white and green letters. You’re familiar with the name. The Sky and the asphalt mirror each other; it’s not a sunny day, but the parking’s green roof does make it better. You wonder if others look at it from their windows, but you can’t spot a soul behind the glass wall. To your right, the few people exiting the building look at you. Suddenly, you realize you’ve been in the alley for over an hour, and you begin to suspect you’re not allowed in there, but no one dares to ask what you’re doing. They probably don’t care. After all, you’re sitting silently on the stairs looking closely at a brick. Behind you, a security camera is aware of your presence.

my research began in the side alley of a castle, outside Copenhagen’s most touristic garden

Climbers seek support to escape the moisture of the soil and reach the light. They’ve developed a myriad of ways to move; some need structures to help them climb, others don’t. This one has tendrils with adhesive pads that allow it to stick better to the wall. Green leaves cover the corner of the building, but on this side there’s only dry wood, if any at all. It seems the plant was threatening the wall, and they cleared it. Perhaps it got sick, or it could be that I was looking at two different plants. Regardless, traces remain. For a second, I imagine myself documenting them all.

mapping a brick | skeletons of adhesive pads after the removal of stem and tendrils.

Cover image (people running in the fields) by David Somló.

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