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Europe Communique #1: YNKB

November 12, 2007

Our hosts, Finn and Kiersten, in Copenhagen ran a great little space called YNKB. Josh gave a talk/slideshow there on political printmaking. Located in the diverse working class Outer Northern Bridge neighborhood, it’s a pretty little storefront, fairly neutral with white walls and a bookshelf alongside one wall with their publications.
From Brett Bloom’s article in the book Realizing the Impossible:
” YNKB (Ydre Norrebro Kultur Bureau [Outer Northern Bridge Culture Bureau])is a space for meetings, film screenings, art projects, informal symposia and campaigns. YNKB has published numerous small books related to their programming, research and initiatives.”


The publications document current projects as well as past ones. Finn and Kiersten are of a generation older then Josh and I (they have grandkids), they were inspiring to me in their current projects (the YNKB itself, but also a video project about Palestine they produced for the local pirate TV that we saw at a contemporary art museum, work about immigrants in northern Denmark, and work to change an old rail terminal into a public cultural space. Talking with them and reading their publications it was also inspiring to see their past projects, to watch the trajectory of two political/politicized artists, to see how they’ve changed and stayed engaged, curious and playful (high compliments from me).
So amongst the older project documented (off the top of my head): a book of Finn’s photos of Copenhagen in 1968, mostly depopulated street shots, after being in Copenhagen the sites pictured were both familiar and foreign, maybe most striking in the lack of visible signs of global capital and youth culture.
Their work ‘rag-picking’ (a term that I think has more resonance as a political act in Denmark (maybe kind of Tolstoyan?)), collecting clothes and fabrics for revolutionary groups in Africa in the 1970s.
Another zine documented the adventure playgrounds in Copenhagen, a utopian project for kids, where the kids created their own spaces to play…
 And as mentioned above their work trying to make a cultural space in an abandoned (an now demolished) rail-freight exchange in Copenhagen. They worked on this project on a few levels and have two publications documenting this, one slightly more official showing architects plans for how it could work, interviews with neighborhood residents, local artists etc… and the second publication documenting their work putting up giant speech bubbles on the building itself with proposals of what could be done there.
 Josh’s talk at YNKB went well.  People seemed engaged but also we learned some things as well from the folks there. YNKB has a website with a lot of documentation and information and if you’re in Copenhagen look for their events!

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