Tower of Babel

7. January 2001 to 11. March 2001

Tower of Babel

What is a conscience?
 Why is art so important?
 Will Danish men in the future be able to kiss each other in public?
 

50 Danish personalities convened at Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, to give their replies to a number of serious, humorous, essential 
and cryptic questions - in Danish!. They themselves 
have formulated the questions - and the replies could 
be heard on 50 TV-screens.

The Tower of Babel 2001 is a multimedia project which presents an in-depth characteristic of our time. 50 visionary persons from different parts of Danish society together present their thoughts, ideas and reflections at the beginning of a new century. The result is 100 searching, irritating, contradictory, down-to-earth and vital questions.
The form chosen for the project is a series of TV-interviews displayed on 50 TV-screens that can be activated by the visitor, who thus is given the opportunity to hear and see one or more replies of particular interest by one or more of the interviewees — or it is possible to follow one particular person through the entire 100 questions.

The Tower of Babel 2001 challenges the attitudes and opinions of the listener and supplements them with insights into the thoughts of a number of Danes who each contribute to portraying our time. The content of their thoughts and opinions presents itself as a picture of our time, containing a wealth of material of cultural and historical value.

The title Tower of Babel 2001 refers to the old biblical legend in which the people tried to build a tower so tall that it would lead all the way up to God’s heaven — thus, in effect, making human knowledge reach God, so that everything that had been unknown would be known and mastered by man. But God prevented the completion of the tower by creating different languages, so that the humans could no longer understand each other and therefore no longer work together.

Behind every question lies the wish for a reply, a concrete piece of information or an explanation, as well as the urge to share one’s doubst, wonder or lack of understanding with others. And ultimately the phrasing and entire expression of a question may contain thoughts and opinions that run deeper than even the most insightful replies.

The contributors were:
Bjørn Nørgaard, Henriette Topsøe, Erik Clausen, Herbert Pundik, Søren Gericke, Per Kirkeby, Peter Langdal, Ib Michael, Niels Barfoed, Ritt Bjerregaard, Søren Kjærsgaard, Anne Marie Helger, Christian Lemmerz, Ghita Nørby, Ditte Gaarde, Jørgen Haugen Sørensen, Nicolas Winding Refn, Jan Stage, Lars Kolind, Bent Melchior, Lotte Heise, Ulf Pilgaard, Preben Plum, Elsebeth Gerner Nielsen, Alexander Kølpin, Knud W. Jensen, Margrethe Vestager, Peter Laugesen, Mogens Lykketoft, Søren Kragh-Jacobsen, Tor Nørretranders, Henrik Sten Møller, Mogens Rukov, Henrik Norbrandt, Jens Olaf Jersil, Haldor Topsøe, Thomas Winding, Fredrik Dessau, Mogens Lindhardt, Christian S. Nissen, Anna Saakwa, Ebbe Kløvedal Reich, Dominique Bouchet, Jytte Borberg, Jens Bloch, Jens Jørgen Thorsen, Palle Justesen, David Favrholdt, Halldor Sigurdsson and Jurij Moskvitin.

The Tower of Babel 2001 was a project originally conceived by the late Danish photographer Jesper Høm and Henrik M. Møller. After Jesper Høm's death in the spring of 2000, Henrik M. Møller was responsible for the final arrangement of the exhibition.

The exhibition received support from the "Beckett-Fonden", the Municipality of Copenhagen, the Danish Film Institute, the Danish Ministry of Education and the "År-2000-Fonden".