Saa er by som borger, saa er by som art

“Saa er by som borger, saa er by som art / So the city is as citizen, so the city is as species” are seven performative rituals on seven different locations in the city of Copenhagen paying tribute to the diversity of life.

The rituals are a part of Metropolis – Copenhagen International Theatre’s summer program 2022.

A pile of 10 tons of organic top soil is being moved from one place to another making new territories for nature in the most busiest and crowdest places in Copenhagen where humans activities are the most dominating.

Researchers are talking about a biodiversity crisis and a sixth mass extinction, where the extinction of species is happening 10,000 times faster than before. We humans take up too much space. Danish nature lacks space. The vibrant and diverse landscape lacks space.

Rebelling against human dominance, Linh Le investigates in a pile of life-giving and nourishing soil how she can connect with other species and create the best possible conditions for interspecies encounters and communities.

The rituals are 4-6 hours divided into different parts:

1) honoring the soil and the elements that sustain life through stones, water and soil

2) reshaping the soil and building a habitability which is symbolically aligned with the needs of the particular species

3) transforming to a species by putting on the mask of the species, slowly letting the species taking over movements, body and perspective in a multispecies interconnected dance

4) Taking off the mask, burying it in the soil, inviting others to receive a handful of soil and together in unison throwing the soil back into the pile.

The species were: Cancer pagarus at Christiansborg Slotsplads, Long-eared bat at Israels Plads, Small emperor moth at Rådhuspladsen, Red deer by Rundetårn, Bladder wrack at Havnegade, Short-eared owl at Kgs. Nytorv and Field horsetail with Fox sedge, Hare, Common whitethroat, Parrot waxcap and Pile-Alant at Nytorv.

Photos: Frej Pries Schmedes

Review and more about the rituals:

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