Saturday, September 05, 2009

Nosing around Nørrebro (13). "This Way Up"

Sometimes nosing takes me underground, in analogy to the truffle pig, which earns its keep sniffing out highly prized genera of the family Tuberaceae, those delicious edible fungal symbiotes found buried in the soil of forests and countrysides around the world, growing in close association with the roots of a variety of tree species. Of course I'm not looking for anything in particular, and I don't generally use my nose to direct my search. More likely, I just stumble across something that happens to be in my path, and find it interesting or amusing for reasons that can sometimes be difficult to explain, like these boxes I noticed occupying a long corridor in one of the basements of the Panum Institute, where I work. There's always construction and renovation going on somewhere in the building, so it's no surprise to see a lot of boxes stacked on palettes. What caught my eye were the rather generic looking labels, like the cans of "FOOD" in Otto's parents' house in "Repo Man" (1984). The majority were marked "SLAVE"; after some searching, I found a couple of palettes with boxes marked "MASTER". The scene kind of reminded me of a song from the 1970s, by the Akron, Ohio band Tin Huey, "I Could Rule the World, If I Could Only Get the Parts" (Contents Dislodged During Shipment, 1979).

"Slave" boxes (The Panum Institute, København)

"Slave" boxes, closeup

"Master" boxes (The Panum Insitute, København)

"Master" boxes, closeup

A further source of amusement (for me, and that's what matters most) was the trilingual sticker indicating the proper orientation of the boxes for moving and storage. The Danish version, Denne Side Op, which I would have translated as "This Side Up", looked sensible, being exactly what I would have expected to see back home; but the translation given, "This Way Up", accompanied by a pair of bold red arrows, as if you might not fucking know, was just another absurdity. Sorry, people, this is how I keep myself amused in a foreign country where I am still out of the native conversation after 19 months.
Oh yeah, the actual contents of the boxes? Fluorescent light fixtures.
All photos taken 12 August 2009.


Anonymous LCN said...

Which box are you in? I know where I'm at. It's not in the box marked "this way up".

October 8, 2009 at 2:44 PM  
Blogger Steven Levery said...

LCN! Sorry I didn't see this for almost a week. Well, I don't know where I'm at exactly, but I do know there's only one place we're all headed. There, that didn't help much, did it? Are you familiar with the book "Been down so long it looks like up to me" by Richard Farina?

Note in passing, there could be another take here on "Little Boxes".

And the people in the houses
All go to the university,
And they all get put in boxes,
Little boxes, all the same.

Thank you Dr. Seeger.

October 14, 2009 at 7:08 AM  

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