Under the surface in the fourth cleanest city in the world

Cycling, recycling – Copenhageners are known worldwide for their many virtues, but visit a new flash exhibition called ‘Under the Surface’ at Ofelia Plads, Kvæsthusmolen in Copenhagen Harbour and you’ll find the shadier side of what the Environmental Performance Index names the fourth cleanest country in the world.

The exhibition, which is open until 26 May, is the work of four performance designers studying at Roskilde University. It displays strange objects from among the 70-80 tonnes of rubbish fished up by the authorities during the annual spring cleaning of the city’s canals.

“We’ve all seen images of plastic floating on the surface of the oceans,” ventured one of the designers, Julie Gress Mose.

“But what about the waste being dumped that sinks without trace but still causes pollution? Out of sight is out of mind but as performance designers and Copenhageners, we wanted to use art to change that.”

Getting the correct environmental approval for the exhibition and building the display crates wasn’t easy within the timeframe available for their university project, but with support from Ofelia Plads and By & Havn and funding from Sharing Cph and Snabslanten, the exhibition opened last Friday for a week in the spotlight.