Mountain Moving Day: København
PVC project room, Copenhagen, DK
Mountain Moving Day is an internationally rooted ceremony created by the American artist Senga Nengudi. Since 2000 it has been held the third weekend in March. The ceremony is inspired by the poem The Day the Mountains Move, written in 1911 by the Japanese poet and feminist Yosano Akiko. The ceremony took place a Sunday afternoon in Copenhagen. Around 30-40 people partici-pated. It is the first time the ceremony has been held publicly in Denmark.
The event began at the exhibition space Vera. When entering the space the participants received a pamphlet with a description of the story behind Mountain Moving Day and the different steps of the ceremony. On the front page was the poem by Yosano Akiko:
“The day the mountains move has come.
I speak, but no one believes me.
For a time the mountains has been asleep.
But long ago they all danced with fire.
It dosen´t matter if you don´t believe this,
my friends, as long as you believe:
All the sleeping women
are now awake and moving.”
In the exhibition space there was a table with 40 porcelain cups and a large glass bowl. Behind it on the floor there was 40 stones in the colours sand, rose and grey placed in a squared pattern. Each stone with a size so that one can sit on it, and with a weight so that one can carry it. In the end of the room a projector showed pictures of stones collected from different places in the world and now placed in homes in Copenhagen. Under each photo the name of the place the stone was collected from was written. On one of the walls hang a gong-gong in copper. At 15 pm I took the gong-gong down and played some tones. After the gong sound had subsided, I asked the participants to each pick up a cup and a stone and carry it with them. After the cups and stones were chosen we left a nearly bare room behind.
As a group we moved from the exhibition space out to the streets. Accom-panied by drum rhythms we walked through the traffic at Åboulevarden, along Peplinge Lake, on the small roads parallel with Blågårdsgade, where we past a playground where a birthday party was held, crossed the large square Blågårdspladsen, where people drank coffee and beer in the sun and ended at Korsgadehallen, Copenhagen’s answer to a mountain. Here the drumming stopped and the two singers took place at each side of the stairway leading to the top. While the participants walked between them and up the hill the singers sang the song “Ederlezi”.
On the top of the mountain the participants each placed their stone. I placed the glass bowl in the middle and began to make tea of purple flowers. A group of children who where playing on the top of the mountain were invited to take part. While I was pouring tea in the cups we had brought along, the drummers start-ed to play again. Together with the singers they performed a self composed song made with the lyrics from the poem by Akiko. After an hour or so the participants started to leave the mountain in different directions back to the city. Left was a circle of stones.
Drums: Line and Martin Pilegaard.
Vocals: Nora Fuchs and Ingibjörg Skúladóttir.
Mountain Moving Day lyric song is composed by Nora Fuchs.
Mountain Moving Day: København. Photos: Maj Horn, Lin Horn, Signe Rom