Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"Tower of Babel" poetry and prose reading in Copenhagen

I am sharing some photographs from the Tower of Babel poetry and prose reading (September 5), part of the Images Festival held in Copenhagen recently.
The organizers of the festival had set up a temporary structure, long and rectangular like a shipping container, on one side of Dronning Louise's Bridge in central Copenhagen. There were booths containing various exhibits; the  Ord og Debat (Word and Debate) booth was where the reading was held.
The roof of the structure was a platform where people could hang out and party and we could hear various thumps and bangs all evening. The Ord og Debat booth was a sight to behold, decorated floor-to-ceiling with yellowed books, their pages pleated, crumpled, folded and slashed to produce texture on texture: an ironic statement on the physical beauty of paper, the irreverence of creativity and the ultimate irrelevance of content. It was "text transformation" on the totally material level, invoking fillips of delight and dread in bibliophiles like myself.
Later I found out that the booth's decoration was a joint effort of some of the authors who had been invited to participate in some of the activities at the Festival!
That evening, however, the word was audible: text turned to speech and voice. Most of us brought samples of our published work  to read from or show to the audience (I took the opportunity to plug the French translation of Sweet Haven), although suppose with the unspoken hope that our books would remain happily intact and, unlike the books that decorated the walls, agape on account of being read.

I took lots of pictures, but ironically, have none of myself reading. If someone has a pic of me overcoming my chest cold to read the opening pages of Sweet Haven that evening, please send me an email! Muchas gracias in advance.

 Eye-popping decor

The little stage. Intimate, no?
The participants
 A chest of books, literally, showing the work of some of the authors who read that evening. Interesting table legs.
Danish poet and travel writer Thomas Boberg
 Bolivian poet and educator (and our houseguest later that week) Jessica Freudenthal Ovando

Indian novelist Mridula Koshy and Korridor proprietor/Tower of Babel organizer Simon Kristensen

 Malawi author Shadreck Chikoti
Peruvian poet and translator Renato Sandoval (left) with the Danish translator of his work. 

 Danish writer Stine Bork Kristensen
 Hungarian composer and musician Krisztina Vas

Dronning Louises Bridge in Copenhagen, where temporary booths had been set up to house various events making up the Images: Occupy Utopia Festival.
It was dark by the time we were done, which gave me a chance to finally capture a cityscape (or lake-scape) I've seen so many times before, heading home from visiting friends in the city.

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