This year, Copenhagen is the official Guest City for Beijing Design Week. Under the theme ‘Living is Giving’ Chinese audiences and design professionals will get a chance to experience new concepts for life-style, sustainable living, recycling, community empowerment, and public health.

Danish Cultural Center will play a pivotal role in these activities. This is the reason behind this exhibition. 100% Copenhagen is a look at the Danish capital from a different angle than the usual rankings, which place Denmark on the top of any ‘happiness index’. By asking the citizens of the ‘the best city in the world’ what is most important to their individual well-being, it highlights issues which normally don’t appear in the conventional surveys. The result is an alternative “happiness” report of the Danish capital indeed, but also a fascinating mental map of a city in search of meaning, identity and happiness.

Questions like gender equality, alcoholism, depression, stress, ageing, obesity, childlessness etc. are not your average indicators for happiness. Yet, on the one hand the portrayed persons are ordinary citizens who represent the population demographically and statistically according to available data. On the other hand, each of the persons reveals an individual standpoint which represents a most important social issue from their highly personal perspective: Lifestyle, Work, Relationship, Wealth, Discrimination, Urban Situation, Sustainability, and Diversity.

The big questions are of course: Can complementary findings like statistic data and personal stories render a true picture of the same reality and is it at all possible to find a full covering representation of our complex and continually changing urban society? The interviews and photographs are the result of three-hour talks with each portrayed person. In every single case, the artist Maja Nydal Eriksen used their homes as the scenic setting for the photo.

 

During 100% Copenhagen, our cinema will be screening “Dreams in Copenhagen”, Max Kestners’s documentary portrait of Denmark’s capital. It’s a film about the physical surroundings that are part of shaping our lives. About the buildings we wake up in, the front doors we walk out of, the streets we traverse. It is also a film about how the way, we live our lives affect our physical surroundings. About places we dream of and the walls onto which we scratch the names our loved ones, before it is too late.

The exhibition is designed and produced by Danish Cultural Center with support from SC Van Foundation and Nordgreen.

Photos and text: Maja Nydal Eriksen, graphic design: Elisavet Papageorgiou and Tang Sai

The concept behind 100% Copenhagen stems from a documentary theatre performance at The Royal Danish Theatre in 2013 by German theatre collective Rimini Protokoll and presented by Metropolis, Copenhagen International Theater.

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