site specific performance installation on the spot where Nazi Danes were excecated by the government after World War II, between 1946 and 1950

video documentation

The starting points of this project are two territorial elements that I discovered in Copenhagen prior my immigration to Denmark:

First: One random night, while I walked through the city of Copenhagen, I started hearing loud marching music. By following the tunes I figured that it comes from Copenhagen's central station's back entrance. With great curiosity I went in and looked for someone who will explain - why? Unfortunately it was too late so I had to come back the day after; then I met the station manager who told me that it is a simple method to keep drug addicts and homeless people away from the station.

Second: during an innocent walk in a park in the center of Copenhagen, my partner pointed at a crumbling concrete square in the middle of nowhere, and said "Danish Nazis were excecated here". Until this day there is no sign mentioning that.

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As a queer, secular Jewish man who lives in Denmark, I always doubt my place within Danish society, and it is something that naturally affects my work as an artist.
On 5 May 1945, exactly 75 years ago, Denmark was set free from the German occupation, an event that ties my European-Jewish heritage to my current home – Copenhagen. Between 1945 and 1950, Denmark reinstated the death penalty with the purpose of executing 46 Nazi collaborators. While important, this has always been a dark stain in Danish history, and until the 21st century, it was rarely, if ever, mentioned or discussed.
“Skatepark 30: Champagne and Tattoos” is a site-specific performance installation that functions as an absurdly festive memorial event celebrating the execution of 30 of the 46 Nazi collaborators that took place in Copenhagen. The idea is to acknowledge these unusual events through a cultural and critical point of view in order to bring up several questions regarding what happened as well as the meaning of my performance installation.
“Champagne and tattoos” refers to the musical element in the installation.
After the instillation’s opening on September 3rd, the park will be open to the public 24/7 since it is not fenced. In addition, during the park’s first three weekends, the installation will come to life. A tattoo will be played from a speaker for one hour, and the public will be offered beer and information brochures. The entire tattoo is a batch of music written by Hans Christian Lumbye – the musician who has the most compositions that are part of The Danish Culture Canon. One of these works (Champagnegaloppen) was written in the apartment in which I live, my home.
The performance’s climax occurs at 18:30 when a pure Dane (pæredansker) skates in the 6 m2 skatepark (the execution site’s concrete floor) for the entire track of Champagnegaloppen (2’44’’). The act of taking a skater out of the urban surroundings and into the woods is comedic and a failure from the very beginning since skateboards cannot function properly in such a setting.
Lumbye’s galops and marches are forced into the tattoo category, portraying the composer’s work in a militant context. The musical term tattoo has nothing to do with the body tattoo that we are familiar with; yet, as a part of this project, the musical term obviously echoes the ink culture – both in terms of the general history of tattoos in Denmark as well as the history of tattooing Jewish prisoners in concentration camps such as Auschwitz.
The non-sponsored Carlsberg beer that will be served during the performance evokes the origin of the term tattoo, which inevitably brings up the fact that Carlsberg Brewery used swastikas commercially up until the rise of the Nazi Party.
In an era of political correctness and discourse about culture appropriation, do I, as a gay, secular Jew, have “the right” to do such act? Do I have “immunity” due to my identity? How long does it take for an immigrant to really become Danish? Is it even possible? When such an event takes place in Christiania’s territory, in which political position does it put Christiania in? Is there a limit for freedom of speech within “The Free Town”?
Who is the criminal, and who is it to be blamed for injustice occurred in World War 2? How many criminals are involved in this project? (The Nazi collaborators? The Danish government? The people who occupied Christiania? Me? Skaters?)
Skaters who practice in public spaces such as memorials are often blamed for misusage and vandalism of public property. But after all, isn’t the point of memorials to be visited by people, whether or not they are on wheels?
Music Fluidity in Yinon Avior’s Skatepark
When we examine music history, there has always been fluidity within musical genres. Past composers often wrote pieces that were regarded as something different than what they were intended to be, and there are various reasons for that. While composers sometimes were not thinking about strictly fitting their compositions into specific categories or were purposefully trying to bend/break rules for dramatic affect, in many cases the terminology was simply inconsistent.

Music theory and musicology attempt to clarify issues such as terminology in order to give us a better understanding of music and the circumstances surrounding its composition, but these studies cannot entirely eliminate inevitable musical gray zones which sometimes are a result of the evolution and changing nature of musical terms throughout history.

The musical term “tattoo” is applied to military displays or presentations to which the public is admitted, a definition that leaves a wide-open door for several types of music to fall into this classification. Following that fact, marches played at military bands’ concerts to which the public is admitted can rightfully be classified as tattoos.

But what happens when such pieces are performed for non-military functions? This question should be asked, as it is common for many types of music intended for a practical, non-concert function—from chamber music originally meant to be played privately for a small group of friends to waltzes intended to be danced to—to make their way into the concert hall. And what about genres that share the same, or similar, elements with other genres, and are not performed for the original purpose tied to them? For example, even though the galop was a popular nineteenth-century ballroom dance, many examples, such as Hans Christian Lymbye’s famous Champagnegaloppen, are rather march-like due to their duple 2/4 meter, repetitive rhythms, and lively tempo also associated with several types of marches.

Although classification of music into categories is intended to help from a learning standpoint, music can, and is often, forced into less conventional categories depending on the context. Therefore, while forcing a setlist of marches and galops composed by H.C. Lumbye into the “tattoo” category might seem extreme, it technically isn’t incorrect.

Dr. Justin Bland
Track List
1. Den 5. juni, March – 2’25″
2. Velkomsthilsen, March – 2’21”
3. Kong Carl 15.s Honnørmarch – 3’41”
4. Kong Georg 1.s Honnørmarch – 3’50”
5. Mac Mahon March – 2’05”
6. Kong Christian 9.s Honnørmarch – 3’30”
7. March i C-Dur – 3’11”
8. Kong Frederik 7.s Honnørmarch – 3’34”
9. Nytårshilsen, March – 2’17”
10. Champagnegaloppen – 2’16
11. Grundlovs Fest Galop – 2’20”
12. Militær Galop – 2’31”
13. Militær Galop, Pas de deux – 3’40”
14. Gratulæring Galop – 2’05”
15. Kanon Galop – 2’22”
16. August Bournonville Honnør Galop – 2’00”
17. Glædeligt Nytår Galop – 1’59”
18. Finalegalop af ”Livjægerne På Amager” – 3’21”
19. Tivolis Concert Salon Galop – 4’10”
20. Telegraph Galop – 3’44”
21. Københavns jernbanedampgalop – 3’48”
The individual tracks are extracted from a series of CDs from the Naxos Music Group entitled “Lumbye: Orchestral Works” in several volumes as follows: Vol. 1. Marco Polo 8.223743. CD. 1998. Vol. 2. Marco Polo 8.223744. CD. 1998. Vol. 3. Marco Polo 8.225122. CD. 1999. Vol. 4. Marco Polo 8.225170. CD. 2001. Vol. 5. Marco Polo 8.225171. CD. 2001.Vol. 6. Marco Polo 8.225223. CD. 2002. Vol. 7. Marco Polo 8.225255. CD. 2003. Vol. 8. Marco Polo 8.225263. CD. 2003. Vol. 9. Marco Polo 8.225264. CD. 2004. Vol. 10. Marco Polo 8.225265. CD. 2004.

Thank you
All people of Christiania, and especially you who live in the Airkondition complex.
Special gratitude goes to Charlotte and Jens, Nicolai Robinson, Justin Bland, Yair Perez Davidi, Mathias Monrad, Cristoffer Daniel Larsen, Thorir Bjarnason, Tore Sætrum, Brant Wall and all Avior, Robinson, and Skriver family members.
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