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Trailerpark Preview 2: Ultra-Groen

Introducing the Danish art duo whose colourful interventions into public spaces turn the world upside-down

Morten Leck Plesner and Christian Elovara Dinesen are Ultra-Groen (Ultra-Green), a Danish art duo who take their lead from the wilds of nature and create playful interventions into public spaces, designed to engage passers by in what they describe as "simple ideas that say a lot with very few words". Cue helium-filled boats flying high above lakes, glowing tents nestled among branches and tripped-out Tardis-like underground worlds viewable only through a periscope submerged in the earth. This weekend, they bring their taste for turning the world on its head to the Trailerpark festival in Copenhagen. On a quiet morning at Dazed Towers we hit up Morten to find out exactly what festival-goers could expect.

Dazed Digital: What inspires you as artists?
Morten Plesner:
We have been working together about six years now. We first teamed up on a survival trip in the mountains of northern Spain, when we managed to build an ultra-improvised, but life-saving two-man log raft. This carried us out of the barren mud delta, and along the way we made compositions from the dead trees along the water’s edge. We still try to go on these trips to no-man's lands to get inspired.

Dazed Digital: can you talk to us about your art interventions in public spaces?
Morten Plesner:
 In the past year we have done some big public space installations. Recently, we did an exhibition in a sculpture park one hour away from Copenhagen. We had many different ideas that were a little unrealistic, so together with the curators we found a solution we called the Aqua Fountain project. We made a underground art piece, a round cube four-metres in diameter, and inside we placed thousands of different coloured pieces of wood, four round mirrors and a water fountain in the middle. The only way to see the artwork was to look through a submerged periscope. The mirrors created an illusion of a space very hard to define, and it was very hard to imagine that it was just beneath your feet.

Dazed Digital: Do you think the public arena takes art away from the rather stuffy context of the gallery?
Morten Plesner:
 It can go both ways. Sometimes public art is still controlled by laws and regulations, so it kind of gets the same ‘being in the closed space’ feel to it. But on the other hand, working in the public spaces is a lot more challenging. In our practice, we love the projects that aren’t connected to any gallery or exhibition space. Its more playful and the reactions we get are instant and not controlled by the ‘white cube’ mood.

Dazed Digital: What would you say drives you both to make art?
Morten Plesner:
 Sometimes art can give our world more meaning and beauty, but sometimes it just seems like the most corny and hollow thing, compared to all the crazy things going on in the world. But when we see amazing art works it enrichens our everyday lives. We don't necessarilly see our projects as beautiful or think that art should be beautiful, or even that it should communicate that. In our case, we are interested in communicating the feeling we have together when we get these funny simple ideas that say a lot with very few words

Dazed Digital: Can you talk to us about the flying boat project?
Morten Plesner:
 The story behind the about the project is that we were told we weren’t supposed to do an art project for Distortion Festival, but then one week before it began, we were asked to do four projects in four days. Both of us always wanted to play with helium, and four very different projects came out of that, one being the flying boat project. The project was about trying to say who we are as artists and that can define who we are, like an ultra-short artist statement

Dazed Digital: What are you creating for the Trailerpark?
Morten Plesner:
 We are doing another hellium balloon project at the trailer park festival, we will maybe do something as simple but… you’ll have to wait and see.