For 95 years she has sat on her stone at Langelinie in Copenhagen Harbour, where she has received visits from around the world. But now it is the ageing lady's turn to take a little trip abroad. When the World Expo is held in Shanghai in 2010, it will be with The Little Mermaid as a main attraction.
Bicycle lanes and city bikes. A basin with water from Copenhagen Harbour, where the audience can take a dip and The Little Mermaid placed in the middle. Those are the plans of the Danish architects Bjarke Ingels Group for the Danish Pavilion at World Expo 2010. A total of eight groups of architects and designers participated in the competition on how Denmark should be presented at the world Expo in the Chinese metropolis Shanghai, and Bjarke Ingels Group's proposal won.
The Little Mermaid is the biggest tourist attraction in Denmark, and for many visitors the symbol of Copenhagen and Denmark. 70 million people are expected to visit the Expo Shanghai from 1 May - 31 October 2010, and The Little Mermaid will be gone from April - December. Copenhagen sends the famous lady on an eight-month holiday to China. While she is away, visitors to Copenhagen will be able to experience an art installation by Chinese Ai Weiwei at Langelinie. And an original copy of the sculpture in Tivoli Gardens.
Say not the mermaid is a myth, I knew one once named Mrs. Smith. She stood while playing cards or knitting: Mermaids are not equipped for sitting.
'We shall see, while above us
The waves roar and whirl,
A ceiling of amber,
A pavement of pearl.
Singing, 'Here came a mortal,
But faithless was she:
And alone dwell for ever
The kings of the sea.'
Afred Lord Tennyson
I would be a mermaid fair; I would sing to myself the whole of the day; With a comb of pearl I would comb my hair; And still as I comb’d I would sing and say, “Who is it loves me? who loves not me?” I would comb my hair till my ringlets would fall, Low adown, low adown, From under my starry sea-bud crown Low adown and around, And I should look like a fountain of gold Springing alone With a shrill inner sound, Over the throne In the midst of the hall; Till that great sea-snake under the sea From his coiled sleeps in the central deeps Would slowly trail himself sevenfold Round the hall where I sate, and look in at the gate With his large calm eyes for the love of me. And all the mermen under the sea Would feel their immortality Die in their hearts for the love of me.
The straightforward mermaid starts every sentence with “Look . . . ” This comes from being raised in a sea full of hooks. She wants to get points 1, 2, and 3 across, doesn’t want to disappear like a river into the ocean. When she’s feeling despairing, she goes to eddies at the mouth of the river and tries to comb the water apart with her fingers. The straightforward mermaid has already said to five sailors, “Look, I don’t think this is going to work,” before sinking like a sullen stone. She’s supposed to teach Rock Impersonation to the younger mermaids, but every beach field trip devolves into them trying to find shells to match their tail scales. They really love braiding. “Look,” says the straightforward mermaid. “Your high ponytails make you look like fountains, not rocks.” Sometimes she feels like a third gender—preferring primary colors to pastels, the radio to singing. At least she’s all mermaid: never gets tired of swimming, hates the thought of socks.
A word about the Images
Many of the images I've used on this blog have been found over years and years of looking at mermaids (plenty are my own though.) I've asked for permission for most but occasionally I don't remember the source. If you find an image here posted that you don't want up (due to your hard work scanning or drawing it) please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You are watching live video of the "Ocean Voyager" exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Ga.