Apartment Noise

A whirring microwave.

A pinging toaster.

Glasses clinking, a dishwasher being unloaded.

Soft, groggy morning voices float around the common room, reaching my ears through the bedroom door. The chatter is periodic, coming in gentle waves. Distinctive voices, easily recognizable by their volume and accent, discuss things in Danish that I cannot understand. Yet I sense the casual, conversational tone.

The voices grow muted as I zero in on the work in front of me, though the occasional door opening and closing brings me back to reality.

The faucet runs.

Footsteps sound off of the tiled floor. 

This seven-person flat is never silent, but that’s how I’ve come to like it. Constantly marked by lively chatter and ambient noise, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Light & Darkness

Sunlight streams through the overcast sky, into my shadowy, unlit room. The natural light casts its luster on my workspace––much preferable to the yellow, artificial glow of the standing lamp that I’m forced to use in the dark of the night. 

Bright white snowflakes rise and fall with nature’s breeze, dancing in front of the window beside me. Light-colored birds soar above the neighboring buildings, their feathers of similar hue to the uniform sky made completely white from the constant precipitation. The sun isn’t out, yet the outside world is far from gloomy. It’s bright and illuminated.

Copenhagen Light Festival

Neon purple. It is undulating in the distance, growing bigger and bigger as I make my way down the cobbled pavement. The scintillating light guides me toward it as if I am a fly drawn to light. As I approach the installation, I notice yellow light flowing through the tubular arrangement, artistically arranged atop poles that prop up the fixture. The complementary colors of purple and yellow make for an eye-catching combination that starkly contrasts with the dark, rippling canal water and deep-toned sky. Yet it is the striking violet that dominates the area the structure inhabits, flooding the otherwise ordinary cement ground with a unique cool-toned hue.

The sky and water are not monochrome. The light exhibits permeate their surroundings, casting their vivid glow in the murky water and sending beams of light into the air. Stripes of light highlight the ripples of the water, though parts of it are frozen from the chilling temperatures. The buildings lining the canals also emit light from their windows, illuminating the tiny waves and thin layers of ice that take on a different identity in their multicolored form. Dark black, then brilliantly orange, red, and green, the fluid body becomes more lively and dynamic to behold once the victim of colorful rays.

I think that is what is so captivating about the Light Festival. The installations themselves are not terribly imposing, but the radiant light that they project contributes to the aura of the setting they occupy, diffusing tinges of violet, gold, and blue onto people, paths, and property alike. It is nighttime on a Wednesday when I visit, and though the streets of Copenhagen are rather empty as I stroll through them, they are brought to life and made vibrant by the shining rainbow of colors that manage to touch and reflect innumerable surfaces.