In Search of The Human Scale: Cities That Move at 5 km/h, instead of at 60 km/h

Original article published for The Danish Architecture Centre, available here.

September 22, 2016 /

By Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk

The history of global architecture is replete with examples of monumental constructions. As a civilisation, we often tend to be endeared by that which is mammoth, gargantuan and high-rise; we are a society driven by affection towards that which manifests itself on a grand scale. This is true of the Pyramids of Giza as it is for today’s vast, unending skyscraper skylines of Dubai, New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

However, whilst the architectural feats required to raise grand structures such as skyscrapers several hundred feet above ground warrant adulation, there are many who argue that there is an essential element that is often omitted from narratives of this sort.  In hisTED talk held at Copenhagen’s Black Diamond Library in November last year, Danish architect Jan Gehl discussed the need for pedestrian-driven cities that put people at the centre of the town planning narrative. The TED talk reflects some of the construction philosophies that have been at the heart of Jan Gehl’s work over the last forty years.

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Jan Gehl at TEDxKEA. TEDxKEA Credit: Daniela De Lorenzo 2015

The Human Scale

According to Gehl, one of the most important elements in the construction of habitats for humanity is what he calls, the human scale – the construction of structures and habitats with humans at the centre of the narrative. Now, whilst this may seem like a given, Gehl argues that modernist (post 1960) architecture and town planning has in fact, eliminated the human scale from the equation, in its bid to build for the modern man.

If we look at the cities before 1960, they were built in small instalments – typically around two building blocks- the street and the square.”/Jan Gehl

These buildings blocks were based on the movement of the feet in the case of the street and the eye in the case of the square.  In other words, the old cities were built for and took their departure in, the body. However, with the expansion of the world and the compatibility between mass production and modernism, the human, scale and in essence the way in which people moved on streets and within squares was forgotten.

For Gehl, what followed was a series of cities and construction projects that looked spectacular from the air but lacked essential functionality at the street level. Combined with the increasing role of the car in society, what followed was a prioritization of vehicle transport over people and pedestrians. Gehl had other plans for his city planning endeavours, however.

Strøget

It is needless to say that Gehl is most well known for his groundbreaking work on Copenhagen’s pedestrian street, Strøget. At 1.1 km in length, this is Europe’s second longest pedestrian streets after Bordeaux’s Rue Sainte-Catherine and a major tourist attraction. Strøget’s development was also a cornerstone for Copenhagen’s prioritization of bike and pedestrian traffic. However, whilst the street is revered today, this wasn’t always the case. Rioting motorists and death threats to the mayor of Copenhagen in 1962, Alfred Wassard, at the time the idea of a pedestrian-free street was conceived, threatened to derail the project entirely.

 

None of the cities had any knowledge about how their cities were being used by people but they knew everything about how the traffic used the city…. This gave a fantastic imbalance”

/Jan Gehl, TEDxKEA

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Copenhagen’s pedestrian street in the early 1960´s. Credit: Københavns Stadsarkiv 

Gehl was responsible for making recommendations to the mayor at the time, and started studying Strøget in 1962. Upon his recommendations, the street was pedestrianized the very same year on a trial basis. In 1964, this was made permanent. Removing car traffic from this area of the city was a priority in Gehl’s planning narrative at the time. However, Gehl’s subsequent policies and practicies have also had other focus areas embedded within their narratives (such as encouraging the use of bikes)

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Copenhagen’s pedestrian street, Strøget, today. Credit: Visit Denmark 2015

Gehl’s Influence Globally

Strøget founded the basis of Copenhagen’s pedestrian-friendly city planning policies, as we know them today. However, Gehl’s influence on humanistic planning also extends to the planning policies of other nations.

For instance, in 2007, Gehl was influential in re-mapping New York’s streets in a more pedestrian-friendly manner. Through his advice to the department of transportation, numerous city planning policies in the area have been made in in the interest of pedestrian-friendly urban architecture. Similarly, Gehl’s work has also been influential in Australia and New Zealand, where he has prepared public life studies for the city centres of Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Hobart.

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Times Square, pedestrian plaza pre Gehl intervention. Credit: Gehl Architechts, 2010 

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Times Square, pedestrian plaza postGehl intervention. Credit Gehl Architechts, 2013
Today, the town planning policies of numerous cities the world over are increasingly concerned with placing pedestrians at the centre of the architectural narrative. This is nothing new in the history of construction, as pre 60´s architectural traditions dictate, so essentially, what is needed, according to Gehl, is a return to some of the architectural paradigms that defined the way we built cities in the past.  This, he argues, creates intimacy and interaction; it creates a human scale that places people at the epicentre of the city and the life around it.

 

My DNA Journey

A few months ago, I embarked on a special journey with momondo – a simple DNA test. As part of the travel search engine’s The DNA Journey campaign, thousands the world over have taken DNA tests to ascertain their heritage.

And whilst it is important to point out that one’s DNA results are based on a database of people that the company that conducts the tests, Ancestry DNA, has built up, there is a high degree of certainty that the results show are accurate.

Prior to taking the test, I imagined that my results would contain DNA strands from numerous African and European countries (I was born in Kenya, to a Kenyan father and a Danish mother). My results (shown at the bottom of this post), not only confirmed my expectations, they also revealed that 9% of my DNA hails from the Middle East. This was a surprise, albeit a welcome one, particularly at a time when the world is at loggerheads with The Middle East, its religious practices and ways of life. The term “mixed race,” which is the manner in which I choose to describe myself gained even more meaning, in a world that is still very linear in its depiction of culture.

Let me illustrate: popular media continues to describe Barack Obama as the first “black” president of the United States, yet I am sure that if he were to be described more objectively, for example with regard to his DNA, different, arguably more accurate terminology would be used. Then again, would it? Our world still fails to recognize the right of ethnic minorities to define themselves and countries the world over, staring with the “United” States of America are split along racial and ethnic lines.

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Black, White, Mixed Race, Arab? What’s in a picture? 

 

More often than not, we are all described from the cultural relativism of the dominant hegemonic groups that rule the world, which, in our modern day consists primarily of fattened middle aged white men in suits. This hegemonic group is the very same clique of collaborators that refuses to pass legislation to curb weapon ownership. By and large it also keeps women, ethnic and sexual minorities out of its hegemonic influence.

This is a truth that saddens me, as a true citizen of the world. However, I believe that the world is moving forward and that the status quo is being challenged, every single day. Brands such as momondo, like United Colours of Benetton before them (see my essay on UCB’s advertising campaign and my take on why Benetton, not Coca Cola actually gives a damn about the world) are challenging the power balance each and every day with examples of purpose based marketing such as The DNA Journey (see below), and governments the world over, that continue to take strides in the right direction, on a legislative level at least. (well, maybe not in Putin’s Russia).

The true step towards bridging the gaps that divide us globally lies in a basic and fundamental recognition of the fact that our differences are source of all of our strengths. I believe that understanding how to embrace differences, cultural or otherwise, represents a genuine solution to addressing the challenges of the future.

Here are my DNA results in full:

European: 48%

Scandinavia: 30%
Great Britain: 14%
Iberian Peninsula: 2 %
Western Europe < 1%
Finland / Northwest Russia: <1%

African: 43%

Africa Southeastern Bantu: 23%
Mali: 5%
Nigeria: 3%
North Africa: 3%
Cameroon / Congo: 3%
Central Africa: 2%
Benin / Togo: 2%
Senegal: <1%

Middle Eastern: 9%

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Join momondo’s The DNA Journey here and read more about corporate video production in big brands here.

The W.H.Y Community

The W.H.Y community webpage was designed with a mid to top-tier management clientele in mind, under the auspices of the consultancy firm, Core and Company, who I interned with at the time.

As creative director and copywriter for this project, I was tasked with building the webpage, setting a tone of voic, finding imagery and creating content relevant for the aforementioned target group. The screenshots below are examples of the finished product

 

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How to Make Sense of The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Original article written for The W.H.Y Community, available here

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Keeping up with The Pace of Change

We live in a world in which the pace of change is unprecedented, thanks to exponential shifts triggered by contemporary automation, data exchange and manufacturing technologies. What is the fourth industrial revolution and why is it crucial for us to understand its implications on our lives?

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We truly live in a spectacular era. Yes, we are constantly reminded of the perils of our world – terrorism, threats of economic crisis, unprecedented immigration patterns and tense superpower relations. Whichever way you lean politically, the chances are that these are issues that will feature prominently in your life over the next few years. Yet, there are equally favourable chances that companies such as Bitcoin, Boom Financial, CommonBond, DriveNow, Prosper, Airbnb, Tesla, Oculus Rift,DriveNow, Google and Uber may also shake things up in your life in the not too distant future if they are not doing so already. True to the age old adage, there is no opportunity without a gamble.

Whilst action is indeed needed when it comes to addressing the aforementioned challenges, we, as a human race today, stand on the cusp of changes in our history that are so profound that ”there has never been a time of greater promise or potential peril.” Klaus Schwab, Founder and Chairman of The World Economic Forum.

 What is The Fourth Industrial Revolution?

You may be wondering where such an assertion, as spectacular as the very changes it describes, takes its point of departure. Well, let’s start with the device that you’re using to read this article. Within the next 20 years, this device, be it a computer, tablet or Smartphone, is going to be at the heart and soul of the shift in the manner in which we interact with the world around us. As concepts such as the Internet of things, robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, nanotechnology, quantum computing, energy storage and others flare up from being prospects in their infancy to being the driving forces of our world, we can well and truly talk of what has come to be dubbed, the fourth industrial revolution.

Yet this is not a revolution of steam and industry – of years of experimentation and incremental change. It is not a revolution of grease, tar and concrete – this is an explosion, a stylish matrix of happenings that can and will change the status quo, if it is managed properly.

Like its predecessors, the fourth industrial revolution looks set to bring a wave on unprecedented changes in its wake. However it differs in its scope and scale in that when the technologies described previously work together, the results that they will produce are exponential as opposed to linear, creating effects that will alter what, how and who we are. Moreover, this fusion of technologies will, for the first time in history, blur the lines between physical, digital and biological spheres. But what does all this mean for you?

 Making Sense of The Fourth Industrial Revolution

As spectacular as the promises and the potential that the fourth industrial revolution are, we are, as it stands, at a point in history where we have yet to comprehend what exactly the revolution is and what it means for us. Our rudimental knowledge of how to respond to the technological forces driving the world forward is therein a limitation to the impact that these very forces can have on our governments, companies, and life, as we know it.

The sheer scope, scale and pace of change orchestrated by the technological changes inherent to the fourth industrial revolution are vast and difficult to grasp. Therefore, the key to implementing them successfully lies in LEADING THE CHANGE in a strategic and holistic manner. Those with the drive and the means to push for change need to:

  • Understand the scope of the technology driving the fourth industrial revolution
  • Grasp the pace of change that this revolution promises and scale it down to context-specific understandings
  • Generate a dialogue around this revolution that allows for knowledge sharing, game-changing conversation and immersive experiences that create and nurture an understanding of how to move forward

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The W.H.Y. aims to gather the talents and forces that can execute this paradigm shift and give them a framework within which they can craft their potential, channel their creativity, interact with like-minded people than can and ultimately, change the world. Our ability to do so ultimately depends on how well we keep up with the blistering pace of change. It is this ability to manage and respond to change that must lead the case for exponential change, which needs to be holistic and digested into context-specific scenarios if we hope to address the perennial alienation of the underprivileged.

Acceleration 4.o the 4th industrial revolution

Original article written for The W.H.Y Community, available here

Technology goes beyond mere tool making; it is a process of creating ever more powerful technology using the tools from the previous round of innovation.” –Ray Kurzweil

Four decades ago the world commemorated the advent of the personal computer. At that time, this device bent the rules of life on earth in a manner that seemed incomprehensible to even the sharpest of minds. Fast-forward forty plus years and we are now entering an age where up to two thirds of the population of developed countries own handheld devices such as smartphones.

 Less is more

If the PC of the eighties challenged the sceptics at that time, imagine how baffling a technology like today’s iphone would have been to them were it readily available for commercial use back then. Allow me to illustrate: A 1982 Osborne Executive portable computer weighs almost 100 times more, cost 10 times as much (adjusted for inflation) and has roughly 1/100th of the clock frequency (speed) of a 2007 Apple iphone. Remarkable isn’t it?

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 Less is” Moore”

Yet what’s interesting in all of this change is not particularly the change itself, but rather, the pace of change. The rate at which new technology develops is increasing and it is doing so exponentially. Part of the reason for this happening lies in the fact that the capabilities of computer chips have increased whilst their price has dropped. This trend has come to be termed “Moore’s Law.” What follows is a development trade-off that is turning the fantasies of our imagination into the everyday technologies that define the way in which we interact with one another and with the world around us. Whilst this is definitely part of the explanation behind the exponential development of computer-based technologies, Moore’s law is merely one of many such-like changes in other technologies such as DNA sequence data and manufacturing processes. Less truly is more and will be even more in the future if the current pace of change continues. But then again, there is every indication that it will only increase in ways we can’t predict, so how can we possibly foresee the future based on this notion?

The short answer is that we can’t – the future will always retain a quality of unpredictability. However, what we can do is familiarize ourselves with the nature of the technological evolution that we are in the midst of currently. Indeed, ”there has never been a time of greater promise or potential peril.” Klaus Schwab, Founder and Chairman of The World Economic Forum. Today’s technologies are tomorrow’s solutions and they need to be implemented in such a way that their impact is holistic, as opposed to being limited to the reach of a selected few. Those in a position to spearhead this change need to understand how to do so – leaders, top talents and opinion makers need to grasp WHAT this change implies for them and learn HOW to implement it at strategic levels, one step at a time.

 

 

 

Capital Fluxus, waiting for the beat 2 drop since 1991

One of the exciting side-projects that I am working on right now is a hip-hop band that goes by the name of Capital Fluxus.

Contact me or use the details provided at the bottom of this post if you want to hear more or join us at Rust nightclub in the heart of Copenhagen’s Nørrebronx on the 3rd of August.

Capital Fluxus put the m in ‘multicultural’, with their French, Rwandese, Danish, Swedish and English influences. Theirs is a music replete with variation and contemplation; a sonorous repertoire that challenges, thrills and questions all at once.

Capital Fluxus Are About To Take Denmark By Storm

Even the most savvy of music nerds may not yet have heard of the name Capital Fluxus. Mark my word and watch this space though, for this exciting hip-hop quadrant is about to burst onto the scene with a vengeance.

“Waiting 4 the beat 2 drop since 1991”

Capital Fluxus are an unlikely combination of two Swedes (Jacob Schill & Jonas Algers) a Frenchman (Robin Houselstein) and a Dane with Rwandan roots (Céleste Nshimiyimana). A potpourri borne of a common affection for hip hop and beats, the name Capital Fluxus is a reference to the economic narratives of our time and life around them.

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Listen on Spotify

With the release of their first single, CTD (“Cherish The Day) in the bag earlier this year, Capital Fluxus are moving on to bigger and brighter prospects. Leading the charge with their latest release, “BYS” (“By Your Side”) – an upbeat tribute to the ups (and downs) of the summer, Capital Fluxus have also been booked for a first appearance at Copenhagen’s Rust night club on the 3rd of August.

The BYS release is one of a quintet of refreshing tracks off the “Capital Fluxus EP” which continues the tradition of re-interpreting the diverse music of English singer-songwriter, Sade.

 

 

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For Booking + Enquiries contact:

 

capitalfluxus@gmail.com

 

OR (+45) 50198706

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Soundcloud

Don’t take my word for it though, check out the following review of Capital Fluxus:

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 Bitchslap Magazine

“Hailing from Sweden, Denmark/Rwanda and France the lads have just dropped their first tune, Cherish The Day, and it’s perfect Friday evening warm down material.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bryd de uskrevne regler: Sophie Trelles-Tvede startede sin virksomhed som 22-årig med $4000 i startkapital

Orignal article written for Talentguiden, available here.

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Sophie Tvede er et navn, du helt sikkert har hørt før, især hvis du er en pige og bruger hårelastik. Bag en af de smarteste hårelastik af vores tid er 23 årig Sophie Tvede, stifter af det kendte firma, Invisibobble. Sophie er datteren af serieiværksætter og forretningsmand, Lars Tvede. I dag har Invisibobble over 100 ansatte og sælger produkter i over 60 land. Sophie er sågar blevet nævnt i Forbes 30 under 30-liste i 2016 og har lavet en TED Talk. Sophie Tvede er bosat i Munchen og er opvokset i Zuri

Sophie Trelles-Tvede

Alder:  23 år
Linkedinhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/sophie-trelles-tvede-73696147
Bachelor: Business Management, University of Warwick, England
Nuværende stilling:  Medejer af Invisibobble

Tidligere erfaring: Skiinstruktør

Start Simpelt

Sophie er kun 23 år gammel, har en bacheloruddannelse og den eneste erhvervserfaring hun har udover sit arbejde hos Invisibobble, er job som skiinstruktør. Hvad kan man lære fra det?

Spørger man Sophie, vil hun sige, at det er faktisk ikke svært at starte sin egne virksomhed op. Hendes eventyr som iværksætter har faktisk været ganske enkelt med en startkapital af kun 4000 dolars. Samligner man andre virksomheder med stor omsætning med Invisibobble, kommer man frem til, at de fleste har fået en stor investeringssum til at starte med. Det er også tilfældet ved mange af de virksomheder, der tilhører de andre navne på Forbes 30 under 30 liste, som Sophie og forretningspartner Felix Haffa er med på. Denne liste præsenterer 300 udvalgte unge ledere, iværksættere og selvstændige inden for ti forskellige sektorer. Felix og Sophie er nævnt under e-handel-sektionen blandt andre store navne i industrien.

”Det er jo klart, at mange firmaer kan omsætte for millioner efter de har fået store investering til at starte med. Der er kommet en kultur, hvorpå man bliver roste for at få investering og ikke for at skabe en bæredygtig og værdiskabende forretning” siger Sophie.

En festlig ide

Men hvordan kan det lad sig gøre at starte et firma, der i dag er verdenskendte med så lidt startkapital?

”Vores produkt er unikt, da det ikke koster særlig meget at lave, og man kan producerer det i store mængde. Derudover er det også baseret på en meget simpel idé, og man behøver hellere ikke at være en industriekspert .”

Den oprindelig ide om at skabe en hårelastik, der var nem at bruge, samtidig med at den ikke gav hovedpine ved at hive i håret, var faktisk én, som Sophie fik på en festaften, hvor hun netop manglede en elastik og brugte en gammel fastnettelefonkabel i stedet. Derudover havde Sophie ”alt for meget tid ved siden af studiet, som kun bruges bedre.”

Fra fest til fashion

Sophies ide om en simpel hårelastik, som ikke gav hovedpine, fik vinger, da hun præsenterede det for sin daværende kæreste og nuværende forretningspartner, Felix Haffa. ”Selv om Felix ikke er en kvinde, forstod han produktet, og han havde styr på de forretningsmæssige elementer af processen. Jeg stoler på ham og på hans evner og værdier.” Derfra har Invisibobble vokset ganske organisk til at være et populært mærke inden for hårpleje. Men som Sophie siger i sit TED Talk til TEDxKEA, er det oftest det, der er mest simpelt og enkelt, der rækker længst:

 

Fordyb dig i det du laver

En simpel ide er blevet til en verdenskendt succes på ganske kort tid. Men Sophie er langt fra færdig med Invisibobble. Hun mener, at der er alt for mange iværksættere, der skaber et falsk behov for deres produkter gennem en masse marketing og hype, der dokumenterer, at konceptet er en success men kun på kort sigt. Derfor vælger Sophie at se Invisibobble som noget bæredygtigt, som hun gerne vil bygge stille og roligt op over tid. Invisibobble er begyndt at skabe andre hårprodukter, og firmaet kommer til at vokse til endnu flere lande inden for den nærmeste fremtid. For Sophie, der har det svært ved at sove, medmindre hun har fået noget ud af dagen, er Invisibobble det perfekt sted at skabe noget, der er gennemtænkt, og hvor hun kan fordybe sig med et koncept, som hun tror 100% på.

Sophie Tvedes tre karrieretips til dig, der ønsker at starte dit eget op

Tro på det, du laver: Det siger sig selv. Hvis du skal starte noget op; om det så er et firma, et projekt eller et produkt, hvis ikke du selv tror på det, kommer du ikke ret langt. Jeg bliver ked af det, når jeg ser folk, der starter en forretning op, men så har de en ’exit strategy’ om 3-5 år. De gør det kun for pengenes skyld og for at få noget på CV’et. Det ender med at blive noget, der ikke er oprigtigt.”

Få styr på dine intellektuelle rettigheder, før du lancerer dit produkt: Lav en Trade mark, find en patenteret løsning på det, du skaber, før du går i gang, ellers bliver det noget, du skal slås med hele tiden bagefter.

Pas på med at ansætte for mange: Det er bedre at ansatte færre mennesker, som har en bedre forståelse af, hvorfor firmaet opererer, som det gør, og hvad deres rolle er i det. Det skaber mere effektivitet; folk skal være virkelig dygtige til det, de skal lave i firmaet.

Allan Kortbæk

Allan skriver for organisationer som The Local Europe, Dansk Arkitektur Center og TEDxKEA (TED talks). Han er også medstifter af Jengo – en NGO, der arbejder med at skabe socialforandring i Tanzania. Derudover har Allan en kandidatgrad i Kommunikation og Performance Design fra RUC. Kontakt: ak@talentguiden.dk

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‘There’s good money to be made here’

Original article written for The Local Denmark, available here

With over one million litres of beer consumed at your average Roskilde Festival, the mess from empty cans and bottles left behind is an issue that draws attention every year. Yet the revenue that can be generated by collecting and recycling the receptacles is significant, thanks to the Danish deposit system.
That promise of money literally being tossed on the ground draws hundreds of can collectors – many from Africa and the Roma community – to the festival each year. It’s estimated that a single collector can make up to 60,000 kroner in deposit money over the course of the full eight days.
Collectors can make good money, but they have to navigate an unregulated environment. Photo: Bobby Anwar
Collectors can make good money, but they have to navigate an unregulated environment. Photo: Bobby Anwar
Yet the life of a can collector, whilst well-paid and tax free, is anything but comfortable. Amongst the maddening crowds and mosh pit frenzies they bend, laden with plastic bags filled with empty soda and beer containers. Theirs is a life amongst an underclass in an world whose rules are far from fairly regulated.
Invariably, their work is not without racist abuse from time to time. Yet despite the grumblings of some festival guests, these collectors keep the Roskilde grounds and their environs far cleaner than they otherwise would be.
Like many a festival-goer, I will admit that it can be annoying to have bags of dripping beer spilled on one’s clothes whilst enjoying a good show or relaxing on the camping grounds. And the pressure of having a can collector waiting anxiously for one to down their beverage does create some frustration. All the same, the mess from all the merrymaking needs to be cleaned by someone at some point.
Meet Peter from Nigeria
In an attempt to understand the world of can collection, I spent some time with Peter, a bottle collector from Nigeria, who collected cans at Roskilde for the first time this year. I followed him around the camping grounds for a short while, as he introduced me to his working routine and shared some of his thoughts on the nature of his work.
Peter from Nigeria spends up to 15 hours a day collecting cans and bottles. Photo: Allan Kortbæk
Peter from Nigeria spends up to fifteen hours a day collecting cans. “Some festival guests are aggressive,” he says. Photo: Allan Kortbæk 
“The festival is amazing but at the same time I’m working a lot, sometimes up to fifteen hours a day,” he said. “There’s good money to be made here but you have to work a lot for it.”
“What is the most difficult part of your job?”
“Sometimes when you approach people – I can’t call them clients because we’re not selling, you know –  some are aggressive. This is normal, somehow we are inferior to them. We have to be strong so we don’t feel the impact of this.”
“There is also the fact that we have to return a maximum of 50 pieces per empty sack. When you’re out collecting, you don’t have time to think about this so you have to sort thing out a lot afterwards.”
I shadow Peter for a short while as he makes his rounds in the Roskilde Festival West camping area. On this brief journey, we manage to gather a few isolated cans and the odd bottle. The camping area is at its quietest, so this is fairly straightforward and without trouble. Peter remarks that this is not always the case, however, stating that it is obviously more difficult to collect cans when the party is in full swing.
The bottle and can collectors work all areas of the festival, from the campgrounds to the areas right in front of the stages. Photo: Bobby Anwar
The collectors work all areas of the festival, from the campgrounds to the areas right in front of the stages. Photo: Bobby Anwar
Collectors get their own VIP lounge
So the life of a can collector, at least from Peter’s perspective, is not without its challenges, even though, as he contends, there is good money to be made.
This year, Roskilde attempted to mitigate some of the challenges posed by the can collection process. I took a look at one of them, the VIP can collector lounge in the Art Zone. A product of the well-known artistic group Superflex, the Flagship Shelters/Bottle Collectors VIP project features several shelters made on designs based on the flagship stores of major fashion brands such as Prada and Miu Miu. The shelters are made from cheaper materials and downscaled from the original extravagant designs, in an aim to create a discourse on matters of consumption, social injustice and resource prioritization. The area is well staffed and frequented by many a bottle collector though the main lounge area does have more tired festival-goers than bottle collectors lying around.
 
Photo: Bobby Anwar
Photo: Bobby Anwar
The bottle collectors were given their own VIP lounge in the Art Zone, which doubled as an art installation at night. Photos: Allan Kortbæk
The bottle collectors were given their own VIP lounge in the Art Zone, which doubled as an art installation at night. Photos: Allan Kortbæk
On the surface, some of the issues of can collection are indeed raised by this installation. However, most of the festival-goers I met here seemed comfortably unaware of what it was and the palpable gap between can collectors and Roskilde festival’s guests was still painfully apparent.
This is not to say that the efforts of the festival should not be credited. Compared to previous years, Roskilde has indeed made significant attempts to address the issue of can collection, for example by ensuring that refund points are well staffed and that the process is more regulated.  The issue is indeed in focus, but can more be done to address the fundamental problem areas?
Throughout the eight-day party, the guests and the collectors complete a symbiosis as can after can is opened, drank, disposed of, collected and returned.
While Roskilde’s 100,000-plus crowd kept the good times rolling, can collectors like Peter continued to earn their keep beneath their dancing feet.
Collectors can earn as much as 60,000 kroner over the course of the festival. Photo: Allan Kortbæk
Collectors can earn as much as 60,000 kroner over the course of the festival. Photo: Allan Kortbæk

 

The best concerts of Roskilde Festival 2016

Befitting the diversity of the line-up, there are precious few overlaps in our three writers’ picks for the best concerts at this year’s Roskilde Festival. Performances from all six stages and on all four of the festival’s main musical days made the cut.
From legendary acts to Colombian experimental rock and UK grime – and just about everything in between – here are our selections for the best performances.
Justin Cremer’s top five picks
1. Neil Young + Promise of the Real (Orange, Friday)
Neil Young played a three-hour set on Orange. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Scanpix
Neil Young played a three-hour set on Orange. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Scanpix
From the opening keys of ‘After the Gold Rush’ through the 30-minute extended jam encore performance of ‘Love and Only Love’, Neil Young put on a commanding, thunderous performance. Mixing old favourites like ‘Alabama’, ‘Words’ and ‘Unknown Legend’ with newer tracks like ‘Mother Earth’, Young and his excellent backing band Promise of the Real put on a show that was quite possibly the best I’ve witnessed on the legendary Orange stage.
2. Kvelertak (Avalon, Thursday)
Kvelertak played a chaotic, cathartic late night set at Avalon. Photo: Justin Cremer
Kvelertak played a chaotic, cathartic late night set at Avalon. Photo: Justin Cremer
There were an estimated 7,000 Norwegians at this year’s festival and at times during this Stavanger band’s wild and raucous late night set, it felt like I was surrounded by all of them. This was without a doubt the highest energy interaction between band and audience that I had the pleasure of being a part of.
3. Savages (Avalon, Thursday)
A terrible photo of a great show by Savages. Photo: Justin Cremer
A terrible photo of a great show by Savages. Photo: Justin Cremer
When I saw Savages play the Pavillion stage in 2013, it was one of that year’s most pleasant surprises. Three years later and on the larger Avalon stage, the London-based quartet blew me away again with their mix of attitude, sexiness and intensity.
4. Sleep (Avalon, Wednesday)
The midnight set from doom pioneers Sleep was near the top of my list going into Roskilde, and it certainly did not disappoint. This was an absolutely hypnotizing set that provided the perfect ending to the festival’s opening night.
5. Gojira (Arena, Saturday)
Gojira kept the festival's final day going strong. Photo: Justin Cremer
Gojira kept the festival’s final day going strong. Photo: Justin Cremer
I had heard good things about this French prog/technical metal band’s live performances for years and now I know why. Even though the band apologized several times for being a bit “rusty”, their Saturday evening set was a blistering display of tight musicianship and crunching grooves. The band might not have felt like they had delivered their best, but for me Gojira lived up to the hype.
Chris Manion’s top five picks:
1. Sleep (Avalon, Wednesday)
Sleep at Apollo. Photo: Justin Cremer
Sleep played behind a wall of fog and lights at Apollo. Photo: Justin Cremer
I sceptically joined a group to see the band Sleep with no prior knowledge of them or ‘stoner doom metal’. As soon as we were about 50 metres from the show, I could sense perfect harmony between the music and the audience. It was this symbiotic relationship that some artists simply failed to capture in the same enigmatic style. The music was expressing a shared feeling, a collectiveness, and that is what Roskilde Festival is essentially about, being together for the love of music.
2. Neil Young + Promise of the Real (Orange, Friday)
One legend meets another: Neil Young on Orange. Photo: Justin Cremer
One legend meets another: Neil Young on Orange. Photo: Justin Cremer
The 70-year-old Canadian legend delivered a breathtakingly energetic performance. The show progressed from heartfelt renderings of classics such as ‘Heart of Gold’ to a full throttle rock’n’roll experience like no other.
3. MØ (Orange, Saturday)
Danish superstar MØ on Orange. Photo: Sara Gangsted/Scanpix
Danish superstar MØ on Orange. Photo: Sara Gangsted/Scanpix
The Danish international star came to the Orange stage on the final evening of Roskilde 2016. There were many festival-goers looking defeated and deflated, a tough crowd to bring alive. As soon as MØ came to the stage, it all changed. She brought a passion and energy that could not be topped by many other artists in the world.
4. Courtney Barnett (Avalon, Thursday)
Courtney Barnett at Avalon. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix
Courtney Barnett at Avalon. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix
A first-time Roskilde Festival experience for the young Australian singer-songwriter and she did not disappoint. She gave festival-goers a powerfully sincere performance. Many times throughout the show, you could see that this was still a 28-year-old playing songs that openly confess her deepest fears and regrets. That humility gave the performance a beautifully personal touch.
5. Mac DeMarco (Arena, Friday)
Mac DeMarco at Arena. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix
Mac DeMarco at Arena. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix
The cheeky Canadian up-and-coming star strutted on the stage with unabashed confidence, and then looked at the audience like a naughty schoolboy and gave his famous gap toothed smile. From then on, it was a fun, energetic and charismatic performance.
Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk’s top five picks
1. House of Pain (Orange, Thursday)
Old school rappers House of Pain showed that they still have the skills. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix
Old school rappers House of Pain showed that they still have the skills. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix 
The guys that brought us the legendary ’Jump Around’ tune rocked the Orange stage to its core during their Thursday afternoon performance. Who would have thought that a hip-hop mainstay such as this would play Johnny Cash’s ’Walk The Line’ in their set?  Schoolboy Q and Young Thug should take notes from these OGs.
2. Tame Impala (Arena, Friday)
Tame Impala put on one hell of a party on Friday night. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix
Tame Impala put on one hell of a party on Friday night. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix
Australians Tame Impala are a class act and have grown in presence and stature since their previous appearance at Roskilde a few years ago. Backing their performance with an impeccable light show and a ton of confetti, they were simply insurmountable on the Arena stage.
3. Los Pirañas (Gloria, Saturday)
Los Pirañas gave a commanding performance on the intimate Gloria stage. Photo: Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk
Los Pirañas gave a commanding performance on the intimate Gloria stage. Photo: Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk 
Colombia’s Los Pirañas churned out an endearing stream of psychedelic rock fused with South American influences that blew the roof off the intimate Gloria stage. Hats off to the stage crew for outfitting the stage with an epic light show to match an assured performance.
4. Tenacious D (Orange, Thursday)
Tenacious D gave a weird but wonderful post-midnight show on Orange. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Scanpix
Tenacious D gave a weird but wonderful post-midnight show on Orange. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Scanpix  
Honestly, I’m not a Jack Black fan and even after his momentous performance at Orange, I still have my doubts about the man’s sanity. Credit is due to him, however, for providing a fun and at times mesmerising show amidst the rain. Where others would have stumbled, Tenacious D were sure-footed, weird and even wonderful.
5. Elf Kid (Apollo, Saturday)
Elf Kid's early afternoon set helped wake up the Apollo crowd. Photo: Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk
Elf Kid’s early afternoon set helped wake up the Apollo crowd. Photo: Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk
Grime’s renaissance was reflected in Roskilde’s bookings this year. Of those on the billing, South London’s Elf Kid was, for me, the most impressive of the lot. Backed by his DJ, the kid spat out one lyric after another before getting bare-chested in the early Saturday afternoon chill, encouraging everyone to banish their hangovers to mere memory.