Putting things into perspective

Photography exhibitions (and more broadly, exhibitions in general) are more often than not, monologues that tend to present a view of the world that emanates from the perspective of their perfomers and the organisers.

There is, however, an ever-increasing ambition to involve audiences more in the performance dialogue – an intent if you like, to bridge the gap between performer and audience. Yet in a world as replete with diversity as ours, how does one go about doing so in practice?

Olympus’ Perspective Playground is one example of an exhibition that shatters the boundaries between performer and audience, so much so that I would scarcely call it an exhibition. Held in numerous European cities, Perspective Playground is an interactive experience that allows audiences to borrow an Olympus camera of their choice and wander through a series of art installations.

I’ll let the pictures that my girlfriend and I took at Copenhagen’s Perpective Playground edition speak for themselves. As a published photographer and performance designer, naturally, this was an environment I felt very inspired in. With this said, the installation is truly is a work of art that is accessible to all audiences, from beginners to world-class pros and everything in between.

See more picture from the #perspectiveplayground photo stream on Instagram here

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Sónar festival makes successful Danish debut

Original article written for The Local Denmark, available here.

Copenhagen was treated to a taste of Barcelona this weekend as the first installment of the renowned Sónar brand came to town.

Located at the pristine concert hall at DR Byen, Sónar’s debut on Danish soil gathered over 30 acts within the electronic music spectrum for two days of innovative festivity.

Click here for photo highlights from Sónar Copenhagen

Comparisons with the larger, more-established Sónar festival in Barcelona are premature but it is clear that the potential to stage marquee electronic music events in Copenhagen is substantial.

The Local was on hand to capture some of the best moments of the marquee event.

Click here for photo highlights from Sónar Copenhagen

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Sónar festival ready for Copenhagen debut

Original article written for The Local Denmark, available here.

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Barcelona’s renowned Sónar festival has thrilled millions over the years since its inception in 1994. Billed as an international festival of advanced music and new media art, the brand has grown to become synonymous with Spain’s second city, showcasing acts as diverse as experimentalist Four Tet to more well-known musicians such as electronic deity Richie Hawtin.
Sónar veers towards the avant-garde and the experimental, as the varied palette of international musicians it hosts reflects. The Sónar brand has also held events in cities such as London, New York and Buenos Aires, exporting its philosophies to various unique venues in these locations.
The latest installment on a growing portfolio of international Sónar venues is none other than Sónar Copenhagen, which will take place at DR’s hallowed concert house this weekend. A two-day ticket pass will set you back a cool 850kroner whilst one day tickets go for 475 DKK.
The Local will be on hand to cover the first installment of the event, which features over 30 different artists on three state-of-the art scenes. Here are our picks for who to see:
Trentemøller: This is a no brainer as Andreas Trentemøller is probably the best Danish DJ alive. As a live act, he has played in venues as diverse as Roskilde Festival’s expansive and revered Orange Stage to small house parties in his Vesterbro neighbourhood.
Djuna Barnes: The founder of Vesterbro’s epic Jolene bar and a woman with so much passion for music and life, Maria Gerhardt is also a writer and activist. Her music is heavily autobiographical and anchored in a plethora of influences.
Jon Hopkins: Jon Hopkins rocketed to popularity with his 2013 album Immunity, one of the seminal works of this generation of electronic music. Hopkins’ sound veers towards the more progressive echelons of the spectrum; a luring lull of centrifugal genius at the outer confines of space.
Metronomy: Now somewhat an erstwhile fixture in electronic circles, Britain’s Metronomy are at the crossroads of good indie and quirky electronica that’s heavy on the instrumentation (they are a class live act).
Âme: Kristian Beyer and Frank Wiedemann are a pair of the more seasoned acts on the billing this weekend. Together, they constitute some of the old guard of electronic music and are known for having re-interpreted countless pieces of music from house and techno over the years.
Kvame Liv: An upcoming musician in the Lana Del Rey meets Santigold mould, Kwame Liv’s EP Lost The Girl is a passport to what is undoubtedly a destiny riddled with fortune for this aspiring talent.
Sekuoia: Another upcoming local talent, Patrick Alexander Bech Madsen’s music is a blend of the ethereal and the evanescent; dream-weaving in technicolour that’ll leave you spellbound with its smatterings of ambient, dubstep and other textured influences.

Strøm Festival Preview

As the summer mania ebbs gently back into the backdrop of routines and obligations that the rest of the year concerns itself with, so too the festivals and festivities of the month of August gradually recline away from the excessiveness of the early summer. Meet Strøm Festival, Distortion’s younger, better-behaved sibling. Where Distortion is loud, proud and rowdy, Strøm, now in its 6th year in Copenhagen aims to add other dimensions to the festival experience whilst catering for a broader audience.

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                                                                                                               http://www.stromcph.dk/ 

This year’s event runs from the 12th to the 18th and features the standard impressive raft of workshops, avant-garde musical experiences and quality parties that make it Scandinavia’s foremost festival of electronic music . Here’s the best of what to look forward to:

12th August

Panorama (In conjunction with the Red Bull Music Academy): The official opening party at Strøm this year is a gig unlike any other. Located at the architectural marvel of Tietgen Kollegiet, a building that looks like a modern day miniature colosseum, the event features the artistic Mike Sheridan and British pioneer Martyn Ware, whose combination of lo-fi sounds and synthesizer mastery will leave Amager reverberating in the wake of their performance.

Tietgenkollegiet, Rued Langgaards Vej 10-18, 2300 Copenhagen S, 15:00–16:00,Free

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/587306634652717/?fref=ts

panorama

13th August

Trans Metro express masterclass: Now a hallmark of the festival, this immersive experience features performances by several artists in the crammed confines of the metro, creating one of the most unique commuting experiences known to man. To be honest, it’s all a bit too cramped and the atmosphere is somewhat nervy so it’s not one for the claustrophobic at heart but on the other hand, it’s a one-off experience that doesn’t happen in many other cities and should not be missed.

 – A poorly made video but you get the gist of it- the idea behind this concept is pretty cool.

Vestamager Station, Øresunds Boulevard 99, 2300 Copenhagen S
,13:00–14:00, Free

Vinly love: Whoever said that vinly was dead ? Label and club owner Kenneth Christensen will play a special “vintage” set for vinyl bods and the like at his shop Sound Station 66 in Frederiksberg. In an age of digitalized playback, this will surely be a much-needed stroll down memory lane. Watch out for two other vinyl love events during the festival.

Place: Sound Station, Gammel Kongevej 94, 1850 Frederiksberg C 
Time: 17:00–18:00
Cost: Free

14th August

Jah Tubby’s world system: The infamous soundsystem Jah Tubby’s from the UK will be hosting a street party in the heart of Nørrebro that’ll surely rival Distortion’s opening day bash in the same area of town earlier this year. And with the Danish dancehall revolution showing little signs of subsiding (Raske Penge, Top Gunn and Klumben will be performing later on in the evening) this could well be one of the best parties of the summer.

Place: Outside Rust, Guldbergsgade 8, 2200 Copenhagen N , 16:00–22:00,Free

15th August:

Buraka Som Sistema: Fusing Angolan Kuduro percussion with modern electronic music is no mean feat. Buraka Som Sistema popularised an entire genre of music almost singlehandedly a few years ago with their daring exploits. The Portuguese / Angolan group will be leading the charge at a mouth-watering lineup at Pumpehuset, where the likes of Copia Doble Sistema will also perform.

Pumpehuset, Studiestræde 52, 1554 Copenhagen V, 21:00-04:00, 130 DKK + fee

From Luanda, Angola to Portugal- fusion music at its best. Buraka Som Sistema may have had their heyday but they’re a damn good act all the same.

16th August

Boiler Room presents Strøm live from Copenhagen : One of the world’s most credible online music shows, Boiler room, will be hosting an event at a secret location in the city. The only thing that is known at the moment is that the likes of Kasper Bjørke, Kenton Slash Demon and the legendary Trentemøller will be performing.

Location: TBA, 15:00-19:00,

Kenton Slash Demon happens to be none other than Jonas Kenton, the lead singer of Danish Indie / electronic band, When Saints Go Machine. His efforts on his solo project coupled with his prowess as the frontman of WSGM makes him one of Denmark’s musicians du jour.

Roskilde Festival Tops

Sigur Ros: I didn’t see or hear Sigur Ros, I experienced them. A purifying, serene concert that reverberated with an other-worldly character that no other musicians can pull off. Sigur Ros had the crowd spellbound from the word go.

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Chinese Man : The dons of French turntablism, Chinese Man were on peak form at their show at Cosmopol, in a performance that straddled the territories of dub, drum & bass, dubstep, classic reggae and hip-hop and included a visual show of epic proportions.

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Of Monsters and Men: Another Icelandic band whose music is a beautiful live experience. The Chamber pop visionaries showed why they are as popular a band as they are know with a well crafted performance at Roskilde’s arena

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Chase n Status: To think that drum n bass would headline one of the shows at the Orange stage and do so with such panache. A seismic cover of Rage of The Machine’s ‘Killing in the Name of’ was the highlight of their late night furore.

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Animal Collective: Animal Collective are the epitome of the modern day psychedelic band, complete with a trippy, kaleidoscopic show that transformed Roskilde’s Arena into a brilliant journey through sound and space. 

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Henry’s Dream : Voyages Into the Surreal and the Unknown

Henry’s Dream offered an intrepid voyage into the surreal

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Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk
July 22, 2013 – 10:04
Debut festival broke with the norms and offered three days of performances that brought the 60s back to life
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With its loosely-structured schedule and alternative venues, Henry’s Dream was not your typical festival (Photo: Allan Mutuku-Kortbæk)

Henry’s Dream

July 18 – 20

Founded and organised by a team of ambitious, quirky visionaries and their close pals, the premiere edition of what may emerge as one of the most artistic festivals in northern Europe was a sensory immersion unlike any other.

The location of Henry’s Dream had been kept secret until only a few hours before it was launched. Curious dreamers were driven via shuttle buses to an abandoned industrial site just north of the Roskilde Festival grounds.

Upon arrival, the wandering sound of a whale-like drone accompanied a cornucopia of colourfully-clad artists who performed around the entrance and upon warehouse rooftops. The scene was as close to a replica of the flower power 60s as one can come across in modern-day Denmark.

The ‘Dream District’ consisted of several well-designed stage areas, each of which had its own unique identity within the fabric of the festival’s overall dream atmosphere.  There was a music temple, a 24-hour rave house, a ‘Totem Zone’ and a ‘Lucid Zone’. While some of the scenes resembled the traditional performance setup, others shattered the boundary between performers and the audience, with stages placed in the middle of dark warehouses filled with mist, illuminated paper mache globes and symphonic light shows.

In such areas, it was possible for the audience to get a 360 degree view of the bands, a daring performance design element that paid dividends by immersing the audience in the performance ritual. Equally remarkable was the fact that there was no band schedule and very little information at the festival itself about the acts, many of whom were experimental nomads who veer provocatively between genre lines. Particularly noteworthy concerts included the Danish alternative band Broke, Icelandic psychedelic rockers Dead Skeletons and CTM, the solo project of Choir of Young Believers’ cello player Cecilae Trier.

The haphazard concert schedule helped to cultivate a sense of immersion in the loose, hazy atmosphere, though many would undoubtedly have preferred a bit more structure and communication from the organisers.

A clean, well-organised camping area was available for those who braved all three days and a calm, well-behaved public who cleaned up after themselves was a welcome antithesis to the destructive “let’s leave all our junk behind” mentality of Roskilde. But placing the camping area right alongside a busy motorway, a good kilometre or so from the festival site, left much to be desired.

For a debut festival, the ambitious organisers’ have a few things to improve upon, but overall their intention to create a parallel society devoid of the structuralist constraints of the everyday worked remarkably well.

Mother Lewinsky preview, Tivoli Fredagsrock

Mother Lewinsky is just one among many concerts in Tivoli today

Combining classical music with a twist of pop is not the first musical combination that triggers sparks in one’s eyes. Indeed, many today would easily relegate the violin to the monochromatic world of string instruments and haute couture − a world some would argue is a world apart from the rest of society. However, more and more bands have started to fuse music disciplines and blur the fuzzy lines that demarcate one genre from another, with many opting to incorporate traditional string and classical instrumentation into their compositions.

One example of radical fusion is the music of violin rock prospects Mother Lewinsky, whose astute experimentation with violin-propelled tunes, wittily punctuated with deft strokes of indie rock, has thrust the dextrous trio of Søren Stensby, Marc Facchini-Madsen and Michael Vitus into a daring ascent to local stardom. All of the band’s members play in other interesting music projects − the most notable being the loud and proud Balkan orchestra Tako Lako, which employs the talent of Stensby when he’s not off on experimental travails with Mother Lewinsky. For all three, however, Mother Lewinsky is a playful outlet where they can mix and match musical styles with reckless abandonment.

With little over a year of mileage since their formation, Mother Lewinsky have only recently erupted into life and look set to take the spring and summer by storm with a series of gigs and festival appearances, including a Roskilde debut that could well work in their favour owing to the lack of recognised headlining acts this year. For a band with only five songs on their 2013 eponymous debut album, some would raise questions as to quite how far this band are headed. A quick listen to any of these tracks, however, will answer such queries with a casual nonchalance, as you are thrust into a dynamic sound universe of sentimental orchestral movements devoutly paired with stout rock instrumentation and backed by potent vocals. Nowhere is this more evident than on the opening track of the album, ‘Running out the door’, a contemplative journey that leaves one’s thoughts in a maze of zig-zagging thoughts.

Having performed at this year’s Spot Festival in Aarhus, Mother Lewinsky are back in town and will be making their presence known with a gig at Tivoli this Friday as part of the Friday Rock Festival, which Tivoli are hosting for the second successive year to profile up-and-coming artists from Scandinavia. The festival includes a line-up consisting of the likes of Jetsi Kain, Veto, and Bottled In England. Should you wish to check them out, Mother Lewinsky will be playing at Glassalen at 18:15.

In total, there are six stages hosting 33 concerts at Tivoli’s Friday Rock Festival, less than a kilometre away from the Vesterbro Festival, a two-day festival that also profiles up-and-coming artists, but just from Denmark.

Mother Lewinsky
Glassalen, Tivoli; Fri 18:15; Tickets: 280kr, includes entry to 2013 Friday Rock Festival