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Astrological Script of Skagen

A collaborative project 'Skagen: Archiving a Town' between 12 international artists, architects and designers run by Jac Studios. During the course of a week, we explored the town of Skagen, Denmark, collecting local material / immaterial stories and objects before transforming an abandoned Police Station into a temporary, contemporary museum. Each artist selected an area of the police station to transform. My work was in collaboration with Swedish/Danish Designer, Amanda-Li Kollberg (Jetz + Immer) - an immersive installation titled "Astrological Script of Skagen (VR coming soon).

Installation Design Concept

All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts.  

William Shakespeare, As You Like It (2. VII. 139-143)

What is Skagen if it were written as a zodiac? An alternate astrological system. Skagen has a seemingly cyclical structure of anachronistic stories, places and lifestyles. It is almost as though lying somewhere behind it is a script that everybody knows, that everybody writes, and that everybody rewrites.  Both those living here and visiting here all willingly take part in the performance. All life gears up to the summer months as tourists and locals enact their scenes. Then perhaps they are recast, or remove themselves from the redrafted script for the next year. 

What would it look like behind the curtain? What is the underpinned system? The preparations, the performance, the packing away, before the excitement builds again. An alternating, moving, living, breathing script. North, south, east, west, old, new, past, present, earth, wind, air, fire, familiar, strange. Stripped back to a system beyond time - step into the scripted world – the Astrological Script of Skagen.

Skagen Context

The town of Skagen is the northernmost town in Denmark and located on the top of the Jutland peninsula. It is widely known for the Scandinavian artist colony ‘Skagensmalerne’, who gathered and worked in Skagen from the late 1870s until the turn of the century. But it is also currently Denmark’s main fishing port and both the unique nature in the area and the large number of cultural sights attract up to two million tourists annually. Making it what you might call a seasonal town.

Since 1980 the population has decreased with almost 50% to currently around 8.000 inhabitants – a sharp contrast to the vast number of tourists that fill the streets during the summer. But what is it that attracts people to Skagen? Why do so many people visit and so few stay? And where’s the build environment in the story of this town? What was it, what is it and what will it be? What are the stories told through the people and the architecture?

Local Press:

- Skagen Onsdag (Front Page / pp.16-17)

- Skagen.dk

- SkagenAvis

- Nordjyske.dk