Blaffernationen – literally translated The Hitchhiking Nation – is an nation wide organisation that is promoting and cultivating thrust, adventure and more intelligent use of resources with the means of the old fashioned form of movement – the thumb.
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We have always had an experimental and interventional approach to innovative urban development. In September 2017 at the City Link Festival in Sydhavnen, Copenhagen Blaffernationen had the opportunity to build three aesthetic, temporary and functional hitchhiking stops in different directions out of the city.
Before the festival and from two and half years back Blaffernationen has been lobbying together with the municipality of Copenhagen to get the permission or exemption from The Danish Road Directorate to build official hitchhiking stops (signs, poles and demarcation on the road). But instead of just waiting for permission we decided to build temporary and aesthetic sculptures in stead to be able to put into focus the potential of hitchhiking and spontaneous carpooling. It is (just a bit) easier to get temporary permission for events, so we applied and got permission, gathering up a great bunch of people, created the designs, got sponsorships from local building markets for screws and powertools, collected a great bunch of scrap wood from local containers, local neighboorhoods and stores. An important point was that the sculptures were build and upcycled from leftover materials, because we wanted to emphasize all the unused resources in our every day lives (both the ’trash’ wood and the massive extra space in the cars all over – 1,1 persons on average per car in rush hour).
We were 15 people building both a 2,5 meter tall 3-dimensional thumb-shaped sculture and two human-shaped 5 meter tall wooden hitchhikers hanging from lightning poles in Sydhavnen in the direction towards the main highway west and south. The lifes of the three sculptures has now been prolonged in the municipality of Odsherred in the northwestern part of Zealand.
The exemption and permission actually came during the City Link Festival and therefore we are creating the official hitchhiking stops spring 2018 in Copenhagen. The vision is to create more both official signs and temporary and creative hitchhiking sculptures in and with local communities all over Denmark in the following years.
The interventionist and experimental approach in urban development is both very educational and fun and it builds local communities and gathers up great attention from local and national media.