This December, Wooloo.org organized free accommodation for more than 3,000 activists who could not otherwise have come to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Using this large-scale human meeting as the exhibition platform for our NEW LIFE COPENHAGEN festival, we invited artists to provide form and content to the interactions of more than 6,000 activists and host families. Not through physical works of art, but via social experiments engaging our participants to investigate new ways of living together.
Through diverse works and interventions, the participants in Copenhagen were – among many other things – given a special guide book for their meeting, challenged to consider an ecological burial in case of their immediate death, asked to pledge to never drink Coca-cola again and given a special guide book in the power relations among guests and hosts.
I met the family who have agreed to host my brief stay in Copenhagen. They were warm, and extremely welcoming. If the idea behind wooloo.org’s New Life Copenhagen initiative – which matches visitors to host families – is to embody the a new openness, then it may well be working. They are not the sort of people whose paths would normally cross with mine; Lars is involved in local politics as a right-wing politician. Gitte, his partner, says the Danish rarely invite people into their homes. But that is the point. Last night, over tea, we talked, all thoroughly enjoying the strangeness of it.
I wonder if we will get around to completing the questions in the New Life Copenhagen Guest/Host book that was left by my bed for us all to fill inF?
Would you describe yourself as an argumentative person?
Have you ever discriminated against somebody?
Have you ever been a victim of war?
Find an item in the home of your host that you find strange.