By Mikkel Toldam
In December 2016, my project group and I held an event targeted towards the people of a town called Ringsted.
We are performance-design students which means we study the relation between people and spaces, how we use and influence space, and how it influences us.
The event was called Ringsted Indrammet, which translates into Ringsted Framed. Ringsted is a town in Denmark. It has a little over 21,000 citizens and used to be a big Viking city back in the days. Though rich in history it has fallen into a box we call “Peripheral Denmark”, which sadly can give an otherwise interesting city a negative reputation.
In an attempt to bring growth to the economy the town built two big shopping malls right outside the city center. While these did bring more traffic and money to the area, a lot of the businesses that once were in the town center had to close down, because the customers were doing their shopping in the new malls. As a result, the old Ringsted mall, that had made a lot of effort to rebrand themselves as a health mecca, lost most of their businesses which left the old mall full of empty shops.
We saw this empty space as an opportunity to bring something new to the mall. Through a few brainstorming sessions, we decided on a few things.
- We wanted to create an evening with a focus on Ringsted and it’s citizens.
- We wanted to use the local resources.
- We wanted to involve the locals.
We decided on having art evening in the old mall. The art was to be created by young art students from the local art program, and to bring in the locals, we decided that the art was to be based on personal stories and accounts from the locals living in Ringsted.
Firstly, we contacted as many locals as we could, and asked them to write down their stories. These could be stories from their childhood in the town, stories of love or loss, or just a funny memory. After we received the stories, we then gave them to the students. We ended up having one unique story per student and they started working on their art.
Though we had come to the art school to get an update from the students, we had never gotten to see the full installations which they had made. The students had just painted a picture or drawn a person. They had filled the three rooms with lights, soundscapes, sculptures, performance art, music and all the colors you could think off. In the rooms, you could see the stories made physical. One room had sheets hanging from the ceiling, tree stumps on the floor and projectors projecting videos of forests on the sheets, while the sounds of the forest were playing in the back. The other rooms had wigs made of bread to tell the story of an old hairdresser who put bread in her hair to make it taller, as well as the story of a birthday party representing the story of an old woman reminiscing her childhood birthdays.
The event held between 60-75 people throughout the evening. It was an overall success. We got to learn how to organize an art event, how to reach out to a target group and corporate in a way where both parties benefit.
In my opinion, working out in the real world and trying out concepts are the best ways of learning and gaining experience. Had this been a purely hypothetical project, I wouldn’t have gained the confidence knowing I could actually do a job like this in real life.
About the Author
Mikkel Toldam: My name is Mikkel Toldam and I’m a 24-year-old student from Copenhagen, Denmark. I’m taking a bachelor in Performance Design with a minor in Communications at Roskilde University.
I’ve always been a creative kid with interests in all the different aspects of arts. Though I’ve never mastered one, I’ve found that choosing a major in Performance Design has given me the same satisfaction of creative expression that I’ve been looking for in other outlets. This too is why I’ve chosen to be involved with CEA. Wanting to publish my own creative magazine in the future, CEA is giving me a place to explore, learn and gain some practical experience in the field. Not sure what the future holds exactly, but I know creativity can’t be a part-time activity anymore.