Five walks: corona edition

A cold snap at the moment, meaning that we’ve been opting for car-facilitated jaunts rather than pounding the five walks pavements. So this week we’ll take a look through the walking lens at how Denmark has responded to lockdown.

Lockdown 1: March to May 2020

Initially, hordes of people in carefully socially distanced groups on the streets, plus far more people than the norm in parks. There was a notable change in behaviour – people were much more friendly than usual, meeting your eye and even smiling as they negotiated a two metre gap on the pavement. Normally Danes take no prisoners, barging on regardless.

Perhaps for this reason one-way routes (clockwise) were introduced in some of CPH’s green spaces (more); anticlockwise round Søndermarken for joggers.

For two weeks in early summer me and beags 1 & 2 participated in Deveron Projects’ Slow Marathon 2020, which took the form of Under one sky, led by Iman Tajik, a Glasgow-based Iranian artist. The aim was for a worldwide community of walkers to share their lockdown constitutionals to form a collective circumnavigation of the globe, crowned by a collage of 1500 photographs of the sky taken en route. 10 of our walks are listed here, with a brief comment designed at summing up the walk, and I also tracked the full 16 walks we did using Viewranger. In total we must have achieved one marathon.

I also lurked at Deveron Arts July reading group, where someone noted that British Covid choreographies include “people just going past, looking into the road or at their feet” when they spot someone coming towards them; as noted above this is the exact opposite of in DK, where perceptions of personal space and how it is used are rather different.

Lockdown 2: Dec 2020 and ongoing

A return to form now, although there do seem to be more people out and about than in a normal winter. It’s actually quite annoying, as sharing space issues constantly surface.

Maybe walking as more than a form of exercise requiring special equipment will catch on. On 25 January Danmark går sammen (FB), a month-long effort supported by early evening TV magazine Aftenshowet as part of the Bevæg dig for livet initiative was launched, with step counting, litter picking and selfie competitions. A welcome stress away from cycling, if, as ever, mechanistic and more about the hygge than place.

A handful of corona-themed walks spotted:

Last summer saw Wa(l)king Copenhagen, with 100 artists undertaking 100 walks over 100 days…each artist walked for 12 hours from their home, livestreaming every hour. From Metropolis, an initiative launched by Copenhagen International Theatre, this was largely sited in performance corner with every trope covered. The most interesting walks were those which took in less ‘mainstream’ locations, although the video-based format was not for me.

This summer will see the concept extended to Denmark at large, with Walking Landscapes, a 130-day programme (June-Oct) with walks in 12 mainly touristy areas.

wintry landscape

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