With only 42.947 km2 shared by a population of 5,8 million inhabitants, fertile soils suitable for intense agriculture and a humid temperate climate, Denmark is a country where every m2 has a purpose and every m2 is accounted for. The landscape is constructed through human marshalling of natural resources – even where nature is top priority. In fact, pristine nature is nonexistent, and what’s considered pristine anyway, is usually managed carefully. In this ongoing project (that one day might materialize into a photobook with the working title “42.947 km2”) I explore the altered landscapes of Denmark. It isn’t a sentimental quest. I’m not searching for the remains of what once was, but for the present signs and patterns of human appropriation. Even though it might sound like blending oil and water, my intention is to have a slightly topographic approach (kind of like an Anthropocene frontier) while taking advantage of the intimacy I have gained through a lifelong acquaintance with the landscape. Through the project I want to present an alternative perspective on the Danish countryside – an alternative to the preferred nostalgic, romantic and pastoral view favored by the majority and comfortably affirmed and celebrated through mass produced pictures of beauty spots where the dream of the land reaches a melodramatic climax. Quite often I’m pointing the camera in the opposite direction - metaphorically speaking. My attention is directed towards the spaces that humans appropriate and construct in the Anthropocene landscape – towards the places where human intervention is pronounced - for better or for worse. Ok. Fair enough. But what am I hoping to achieve as an Anthropocene frontier exploring the altered landscapes of Denmark? It’s not crystal clear but since the book is far from being published, I have plenty of time to think it over. But I have a vague idea about causing reflection (conscious and subconscious) about the footprints we leave while we are here – metaphorically speaking and (indeed) literally speaking. Even though we have only been around for a split second our impact has been immense. That calls for attention. You can consider it my call – it’s not through a megaphone but merely an ambiguous whisper. The words are hardly discernable – but you know they are there if you listen carefully. 

Copyright Troels Bjerre 2020
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