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Art And Equality At Roskilde Festival. Surprising And Engaging

Roskilde Festival is not only a music festival. Each year, together with the music programme and the social work initiatives, the art programme is one of the key elements of the festival programme. This year, the social theme is economic equality, and in combination with the music programme and the attitudinal work, the art invites guests to get involved, to be surprised and to take a stand – at the festival and in society in general. The art programme involved experiences within different categories such as performance art, paintings, installations, sound art, graffiti, etc., including prototypes on Tump’s Mexico wall, an anti-capitalist serpent parade, a debate with former whistle-blower Chelsea Manning, and much, much more. IKON signed up for a guided art tour, and below you can learn, what we learned.

SMK x Roskilde Festival

Due to the expanded art programme this year, Roskilde Festival had teamed up with the National Gallery of Denmark (SMK) in order to offer guests daily guided art tours around the Art Zone area. The guides were a mixture of traditional art communicators and refugees or immigrants who are learning the Danish language. IKON signed up for a tour on Thursday afternoon at 4 pm. The atmosphere was relaxed, and the sun was shining. Our guide was a young Russian man, who moved to Denmark after falling in love with a Danish girl. He is now studying Danish culture and learning the Danish language.

Life’s Pathways

Life’s Pathways Art Installation at the Roskilde Festival, Denmark

The tour began with our guide’s favourite art installation. The installation consisted of a wooden pathway circling through the art zone. Our Russian guide told us, that he especially enjoyed this installation because as with life, this pathway continues to suggest new directions for the pedestrians. The installation is called PATHWAY and is created by the Danish-Norwegian drawing office SANO. At night, PATHWAY gets a new dimension when it is lit up by colourful LED lights from below. After a few moments of admiring the pathway, our guide took us too some more mind bubbling installations. We were especially intrigued and at the same time disturbed, by this bar/light installation called LYSBID (light bite). The installation encourages festivalgoers to relate to their surroundings, misuse of data, and technology’s consequences, by asking for the guests’ fingerprints. In return of a piece of personal data, guests would get an individual, fun and colourful Jell-O shot, matching the guest’s specific personality.

The Future

Another slightly disturbing installation was an installation called REPLIKA – STAGING A HUMAN PRODUCTION LINE. At first glance, all you would see was this sort of industrial, maybe butcher looking table, with something that looked like plastic body parts on top of it. It was not until after the second time I looked at the installation, that I realized all the plastic babies on display on the wall. The first couple of babies looked nice and normal, but then suddenly one baby’s head would look a little deformed, and the next baby a little more, and the third even more. This installation was the body laboratory, where two performers who would iterate the same movements again and again, while working on the human production line – the babies. So, does this production show us a speculative future scenario, where humans are getting more and more deformed due to external factors? The performance asks the audience: What are we? What have we been until now? And what will we become at the end? And by looking at the babies at the end, this artist does not see a positive future.

Trump’s Wall


Equality Walls Art Installation at the Roskilde Festival, Denmark

Equality Walls Art Installation at the Roskilde Festival, Denmark

Speaking of the future, will Trump ever get his wall at the Mexican border? The festivalgoers might not know the answer to that questions. Instead, they now have a pretty good idea of how the wall might look like. Usually, there is a straight way, that leads guests directly to the Orange Stage, but this year, guests were met and blocked by an unusual sight. In total, Trump has made eight prototypes of the wall that he wants to build at the Mexican border. Roskilde Festival decided to copy four of the prototypes, and place them right in the middle of the festival. Each wall is 10 meters tall and six meters wide, which is true to the original size of the prototypes. The purpose? First of all, the walls functioned as an aesthetic object at the festival. But more importantly, they will act as an invitation for dialogue and call into question a world-wide tendency to close borders and create more inequality in a global world, where technology development has long since broken down the borders and interfaces between countries. The walls are EQUALITY WALLS, and as with purpose of Trump’s wall, these walls were actually blocking the direct way to the biggest stage of the festival, forcing guests to pay attention.


With an art programme twice the size as normal, it is difficult to pick out the most interesting, mind-blowing and surprising installations. So, if you have become intrigued by reading this article, here is the link, where you can read the description of the entire art programme of 2018:


If you want to see how the walls look like, check out this link:

Photo Tour Images:

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