Core Course Week, Part 3: Aarhus and Beyond

Have you been following along with my recap of Core Course Week? So far, I’ve written about my adventures on Tuesday and Wednesday. Next up, Thursday and Friday. Let’s see if I can fit both days into one post this time!


First thing on Thursday, we all walked over to a business called Hello Monday. They do digital graphic design for major companies like Google, Microsoft, Lyft, Samsung, Lego, Facebook, and Instagram, and their headquarters is right there in Aarhus, Denmark. One of their designers presented a couple of their projects to us, and explained how the company’s different international offices (Aarhus, Copenhagen, New York, Amsterdam) work together. It was interesting to hear about how a business like that works, even if I couldn’t see myself wanting to work there. Plus, they offered us croissants and Kinder chocolate to eat during the presentation…

Next, we headed over to Aarhus’ most prominent art museum, ARoS. Overall, this wasn’t my favorite museum, but there were a few artworks that stood out to me as being more interesting than the rest. One was a video and audio installation called Berl-Berl, made by Jakob Kudsk Steensen in collaboration with the sound artist Matt McCorkle and the singer Arca. It is an exploration of wetlands and swamps, especially the one that was drained in the 1700s to make room for Berlin. The installation was a mysterious, relaxing experience, and the visuals, which Steensen made using the video game platform Unreal Engine, were insanely impressive.

I also enjoyed seeing Ron Mueck’s sculpture Boy, which is a giant, squatting, glass fiber fella with a worried expression on his face. And of course, the rainbow pathway on the roof, which was designed by Olafur Eliasson and is called Your Rainbow Panorama, was pretty fun to experience.

Here’s my sketchbook page with drawings and collage from ARoS and Hello Monday (the Hello Monday office had a lot of plants!).

After visiting ARoS, we were let loose to go buy our own lunches and explore for about 2 hours. I sat in a park and ate a delicious falafel burger from a burger place near the hostel, and then I decided to wander vaguely in the direction of the botanical gardens, which I had noticed on Google Maps. On the way there, I came across a thrift shop, so of course I went in and poked around. I bought a bag of old Danish stamps, and a few cassette tapes of old Danish music!

I still had some time left after that, so I went to the botanical gardens. Their greenhouse building was lovely: filled with exotic plants, butterflies, and a refreshing, nostalgic smell. Unfortunately, I had to run through pretty quickly so that I could meet back up with the group in time.

We met at Godsbanen, which is an incredible arts & crafts workshop that gets funding from the city (something that would be very unlikely in the U.S.). They had a wood shop, metal shop, and many other workshops; it was similar to the Design School in Kolding, but here use of the workshops was (mostly) free to the public, though people have to buy or bring their own materials. It was interesting to hear my Danish instructors speak of this as an “investment,” and a good one. To them, the improvement of Aarhus residents’ practical skills was a smart and beneficial thing to fund with their tax money.

After touring all of the workshops and the nearby architecture school, we participated in a print-making class at Godsbanen. We all got very into the process and had a great time. Alas, I don’t yet have pictures of the prints I made, but the prints themselves will be sent to us soon.

We all had a great time making monotypes at Godsbanen!

We finished up the day with dinner at the restaurant connected to Godsbanen, which was fantastic and super fancy. I can’t resist including pictures of the food I ate…it was delicious!

The dinner was a great time to get to know my classmates better. Topics of conversation ranged from true love to public urination…we definitely had some interesting discussions. After dinner, some people stayed up to go mini golfing at the hostel (yes, the hostel we stayed at had a minigolf course!) but I barely had the energy to read a few chapters of my book before going to sleep.


Our first stop on Friday was Museum Jorn in Silkeborg. I really liked this one! It was the first time I got to see paintings on this trip, and since I have some experience with oil painting, paintings in museums always feel more approachable to me than sculptures or installation art. The collection was focused on Asger Jorn‘s own work, of course, but it also included lots of artwork from Jorn’s personal collection, as well as works by his friends and contemporaries. The museum was well-set-up with interactive activities for those of us who don’t like seeing art without immediately getting to make some. Since Jorn is known for his “modifications” and “disfigurations” of other people’s paintings, we were given some postcards and paint markers with which to disfigure them. Here’s my favorite creation:

My recent reading has included Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir and Understanding Analysis by Stephen Abbott…can you tell?

We ate lunch at Museum Jorn’s café, and then got back into the bus for one last stop on the way back to Copenhagen. The final stop was in Billund, Denmark, to see the Lego House!

I think my classmates and I all felt like little kids while visiting the Lego House. There were lots of playgrounds, giant Lego sculptures, and Lego-building activities. My personal favorite part, though, was the Lego history museum in the basement! As a long-time Lego fan and AFOL (Adult Fan of Lego) it was really exciting to get to learn more about the creation of the company.

At the end of the visit, I hurried to the store; my parents had said that, as an early birthday present, I could pick out a Lego set for myself! I bought a Lego House exclusive set, which depicts the workshop of Lego’s first Master Builder, Dagny Holm. I can’t wait to put it together!

Finally, we got back into the bus for a nice long drive back to Copenhagen. All in all, it was a wonderful trip to western Denmark, filled with great art, great friends, and great food!

Here’s a picture of the coolest group of graphic design students in existence!

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