After several years with unprecedented times, fittingly enough, this year’s Roskilde Festival, the 50th anniversary of the calendar stand, was in itself also quite unprecedented. From the lukewarm (at best) line-up to the lack of volunteers, questions would always be asked – and even more so at a festival that is apparently frequented by people of all ages who are eager to refer the strife of recent years to just memory.
Step into the role of art, a constant presence at every festival, but perhaps even more important at this one – a Roskilde so exposed to criticism, love, affection and the common vulnerabilities that make us all human.
Would there be a forum to critically reflect on the fleeting times we live in? Would there be any room at all to reflect in a time of mass escapism and distraction? Would there be the right kind of sensory immersion at a concert that featured such a mixed line-up, hampered by finances and circumstances?
We looked at some of the marking installations at this year’s festival in search of answers to these and so many other questions.
A graphic work – and a heated debate
The indoor Gloria scene has been known for its artistic edge over the years, featuring everything from highly experimental acts that no one has ever heard of, to ‘accessible’ artists who intend to attract audiences unprepared for the sensory overload that can come up with your typical appearance in here.
This year, the entrance to Gloria was draped in a mural of a vagina – the gate to the hollow uterus on the stage inside. Here, soft, rosy tones and soothing substances gave warm thoughts to the creation of life – and in fact life itself. The work, by the Swedish artist Carolina Falkholt, was created to ask questions about abilities, mental health and feminine sexuality and was based on the artist’s own experiences at the festival (she was tragically a victim of an attempted rape at the festival earlier in her life) .
Due to the work’s morbid nature, Roskilde Festival decided – on guard against its potentially triggering effect – to put a curtain over it. It did not go down well with the Danish politician Rosa Lund, who was filmed when she tore down the curtain and later criticized that it had been set up, marking it as “disrespectful to both the artist and other victims who needed it. to have their voice heard. ”
Intentionally or not, the work created a conversation about a topic that is not easy to talk about – and that is all the more important to address in today’s society.
Dreams in Technicolor / Ambereum
Ambereum was the incarnation of a scene from the future – a place and a state of time and space in constant liminality (change.) During the day, this orange / Papaya-colored jumble of wooden installations high draped with flimsy paper and plastic strips offered a meditative exposure from the elements – and it was conveniently located between dining areas and some of the larger festival stages.
But in the late afternoon, the Ambereum turned into a completely intimate party with a packed dance floor atmosphere that did not care what you would expect from a night on the town in Vesterbro’s Meatpacking District.
When DJs – who played the kind of tunes you would not find on streaming services – drove unsuspecting audiences away to distant music cultures that could only be recognized on a ubiquitous staccato drumming, the meditative feeling was still very much alive.
Ugandan dance label and creative agency Nyege Nyege was a highlight leading a 5-hour rave on Friday afternoon. With the rain whipping down, it gathered the party-goer from far and near in one warm existentialist embrace.
Platform – on top of art and music
‘Platform’ was a brand new venue and situational work of art located between the scenes in Orange and Arena. The music series here, like the format itself, was hybrid, intense and heavy on the senses – an architectural fusion that blurred the boundary between artist and audience.
Tino Sehgal’s darkroom work, a German performance artist, was more akin to a museum visit than your average Roskilde Festival experience. This space, which runs from Wednesday to Saturday, offered the perfect postponement and dare I say it, restart from life’s challenges in 2022.
The usual s̶u̶s̶p̶e̶c̶t̶s̶ murals
Although they are not necessarily promoted to the same extent (or with the same intention) as the ‘tent’ works on the program, Roskilde’s graffiti murals have always been a fantastic forum for creative expression – without genre and the usually well-thought-out classifications of what their works . is or is not. If anything, these kaleidoscopic works this year were all the more gripping, with expressions from people like Oeps Crew, Stine Hvid and the legendary Moa collective (paint still dripping) decorating the festival narrative with confidence.
We managed, what now?
After a week of “music, art, activism, camping and freedom” (in Roskilde’s language, according to their headline), the 50-year-old luminaire proposed from its recent history did what was expected of it. The anniversary celebration was at a minimum – and perhaps also the expectations.
This was a festival to revive life as we knew it, as best we could, all things considered – and the art program reflected this. There have ultimately been art scenes in the past that were bigger, bolder, brighter. There have certainly been works that have evoked a broader and more nuanced sense of self-reflection. And there have been features from previous festivals that have posed more critical questions to the society we live in.
But perhaps this time, like many other things at this year’s festival, we should be grateful that the festival took place and that there was an opportunity for us all to come together and participate in several days of co – creation, art and culture.
Source: The Nordic Page