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. Therefore, I have rewritten some of my notes: welcome on board! To learn more about my work during the residency, please visit Nordhavnstippen.

NEW PLACES, OLD HABITS

#minute_performances in Copenhagen

If you look away from the wall, you will see bricks to your right, and glass and steel to your left. There is a big boulevard in front of you. Cars come and go; they’re mostly black or white. A blue truck catches your eye. There are not as many bikes as you’d have guessed, and pedestrians are scarce. You can’t see far beyond: a red building and its copper canopy block your view. On its facade, you read Scandic Hotel 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, yet the parking’s green roof makes you feel better, and you wonder if others look at it from their windows. To your right, the few people exiting the building look at you. Suddenly, you realise you’ve been in the alley for over an hour, and you begin to suspect you’re not allowed in there. Still, 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 keeps track of you.

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, and 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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