31 August 2013

Love, like, disapprove

So much is happening, I don't even have the time to stop and write anything down. I do manage to take pictures, but as they don't self-post, we are nowhere on that. Here is a peek at Queen Louises Bridge, occupied by the Images Festival. About a week ago they blocked two thirds of the busiest bike lane in Copenhagen to build a huge scaffolding. The construction just grew, until yesterday, when it was revealed as a big canvas for curated street art.

I love street art and I like the idea. But I do not approve of the location, and I will never understand how they are able to get permission to endanger cyclists and block all traffic for days. Such a pity that most people I hear from are against the project because it seems like a cool idea. Oh well, it too will pass. And of course it looks cool.

Broen fra oven / The bridge seen from the other bridge

I climbed the thing, to get a birds eye view of my favorite bridge and lakes.

Occupy Utopia

Occupy Utopia.

Book wall

Book wall installation on the inside.

And the yum.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

One more week to go...
 

26 August 2013

Goodbye summer

It is unmistakable: summer is coming to an end. I will miss the little things, like the sight of this woman, kneeling on the ground, busy with something I just had to investigate.

Frottage

Woman at work

Frottage art, a technique picked up in teachers class, she told me. Never leave home without a piece of cloth and a crayon because you never know... Of course I told her about the beautiful manhole cover by Rundetårn, practically begging for a piece of crayon. I hope she found it.

Manhole cover frottage

Imagine the city collages you could make with a fat crayon and a single piece of paper?

In another part of town, I spotted this guy:

A piece of advice...

Leaving us a gentle reminder.

Lev livet levende / live life alive

Lev livet levende / Live life alive.

Letting go of summer is not easy. Please be gentle with me, fall.


22 August 2013

Taking notes

For every time I travel, I find myself looking at cities more and more through the eyes of a city planner. I find myself occupied with how they maintain the trees, how much space is allocated for pedestrians and bikes, and how they handle the garbage situation. I recognize what a huge difference the lower speed limits in city centres have (30km/h in Paris vs. 50km/h here), with less noise and less stress.

Some things we do really well here, and cities from all parts of the world look to us, when it comes to things like bicycling infrastructure. In some cases they even improve it (like the shared bike systems, by far exceeding ours).

Velib Paris city bikes

The city planners of Copenhagen need to do the same: look to other cities, pick what really works, and implement it here, if possible. For instance, in cities like Berlin and Stockholm they don’t use salt on the roads in the wintertime, but here we have killed off nearly half of our road trees with salt, over the last few years, and we are still counting. We urgently need to look into that!

The biggest difference from Copenhagen is how the city planners seem to put people's need first. Below Hotel de Ville the public square, summer edition.

Beach volley on Hotel de Ville, Paris

The Seine beach in Paris

The Seine beach.

Streets are for people, not cars. This street is reserved for cyclists and pedestrians in the hours between 11-19. Are you paying attention here,  Mayor Jensen?

Road reserved for cyclists and pedestrians

The police is not the enemy of cyclists, but among us. Showstoppers:

Showstoppers

And how do we get a farmers market? Skip the part with the greedy developer chopping down everything green, to make space for parking, renting out his square metres to chain stores at a rate, no independent farmer can afford. All it takes is this:

Farmers market in Paris, off hours

This space can be used for everything from flea markets to farmers and flower markets. Everything is possible, it's a public space, right? Whatever rigid rule is standing in the way of this, should be looked into, and eliminated. Let the city breathe, please.

And, this has become a small ritual of mine: I go to visit the vertical garden at BHV Homme. Having followed it from the early stage, my feelings for this wall are bordering on maternal.

BHV Homme vertical garden
 
BHV Homme vertical garden

Clearly this was not just meant to be a quick greenwashing smokescreen, but a lasting piece.


BHV vertical garden, Paris

Look how far our baby has come (links: early stage and later stage). It seriously makes my heart swell.

Lastly the love for the city and respect for the people shows in the way they cover up their construction sites. Yes, cities grow and need maintaining, but it does not have to be ugly and unbearable. 
Trompe l'oeil scaffolding
 
Mirror mirror

A construction site is not just perceived as an opportunity to rent out advertising space to the highest bidder. More important things are at stake here: like the quality of life for the citizens.

Pedestrians on scaffolding

I want for my city to be treated with the same degree of love and respect. And it will happen, I will do everything in my power to see to it.

End Paris report.



19 August 2013

Cold turkey

Nono, I am not dead. I have been cut off from the internet, and I have missed you like crazy. My cold turkey lasted six days, but at least they were spent well in Paris. It was one of those trips that really inspired me, and affected me in a way that still makes me smile.

When I left Paris, I was ready to go home and put some of all my ideas and inspiration to good use. Just to be on the safe side, I left a full hour before I normally would, to go to the airport because with Parisian transportation you never know... As it turned out, the train going to the airport was not in service, and depending on who you asked, you should get off at different stations and take different (non existing) buses. None of the advice was any good, of course, and long painful story short, I ended up sweating blood in a train going no faster that I could ride my bike.

All the while I was frantically checking my watch and watching my check in deadline pass. Overheated, frustrated and completely out of it, I was thinking Paris why you no love me no more? And then the most unlikely thing happened: a young girl came up to me and asked if she and her mother could give me a lift to the airport. I still can’t quite believe it. With exactly fourty minutes to take off, they dropped me off. Despite this angelic effort, it might still had been too late, if it was not for the sweet airline worker, pulling all the right strings. I had no idea people were so nice, it has blown me away. How can I ever repay them? I definitely owe the world one.

Indian girl

IMG_2297

IMG_2346

IMG_2348

IMG_2354

Untitled

I realise this is a lot, but this is no time to be stingy. Besides I am still recovering from my wifi withdrawal, and all this amazing street goodness is too good to keep in.

Mr. Pee

Mr. Pee

Mr. Pee detail

Free Pussy Riot

Free Pussy Riot. The world has not forgotten the Russian female performance artist group Pussy Riot, or the arrogant bully that put them away for speaking their mind.

Combo

Combo. French street artist, I have read up on him (link here) and now I am really eager to see more. Hijacking images from the arts and cartoons, he is twisting them to fit his message. Like making a mini exhibition of masterpieces for pigeons, at floor level. Or the creepy visualisation of dead homeless people, in a street installation.

Cracks

Cracks in the wall traced, revealing another reality. One of the reasons I love street art so much.

Clet Abraham

Clet Abraham.

Eyeballs

Your eyes after taking in all these pictures.

Eyeballs in Paris

Hahaha.

(you know there is more, don't you?)

(just wait for it)

UPDATE:

Check more of my Paris street art findings on Brooklyn Street Art (link) today, yummy murals mmm.

 

09 August 2013

Freeeeeedom!

My two favorite sounds in the world are: the sound of dog paws on pavement, and the freewheel clicking sound of my bike. I was also mesmerized by the blackbird across my kitchen window, singing the sun down every night. But after they butchered the beautiful beech hedge at the retirement home (slowly eating away at the oasis, a clever move, considering the resistance is all about preserving it), it is gone. I hope it is alive and well, and singing to someone else.

But the bikes are here to stay. And this is the biking I know and love: easygoing, wind in hair, greeting friends, riding with friends, taking your time, making room for others and enjoying the ride. And the clicking sound...

Relaxed ride

The relaxed ride, one leg up. One of the few things not yet disallowed on a bike. Surely an oversight.

Dogs in transit

Dogs in transit.

Greeting

Greeting friends on the move.

There are no rules

Everybody does it, as everybody should.

A family ride

A family ride. 

A family ride vs. a family car

Another family ride vs. "the family car". I know my preference, here.

Tiny foot

Barefoot riding with dad. The little feet, so kissable...

One guess what is not missing in these pictures? 

(First prize is not a bicycle helmet)

Score one for bicycle freedom!


 

02 August 2013

Dominoes

I wasn’t sure I was going to check it out, but then I thought of you. Metropolis, the urban festival for performance and arts, had invited Station Opera House to line up three kilometers of giant dominoes, worming their way across town. It started at Nicolaj Church. 


Map borrowed from the Metropolis site.

My first domino spotting as I approached the city, was coming out (or going in) the Copenhagen Cathedral.

Untitled

I quickly decided to move on to the courthouse further down the road. A wider space, less crammed.

Untitled

Untitled

I found the perfect spot inside, nice and people free. While it lasted, haha. 

Untitled
After a few minutes, you could feel the tension building, I kicked off my sandals, and climbed the bench:


Odd observation: dominoes seem to attract white haired ladies in black rimmed glasses. And, third time I watched it, I noticed the identical looking man and woman in the front. Spooky stuff, this.

Untitled

One minute everyone was there, the next they were gone. It was almost surreal. 

Untitled

This was my first time in the courthouse, so beautiful. I have to explore these places more. I feel almost obligated.

Untitled

As for the dominoes, I realised that with all my attention on the camera, I completely missed it. So I decided to put the camera away, and hurry down to the finish line, on Town Hall Square. And just watch it.

Untitled
The grand finale. I am so glad you made me go.