Portrait of Kai-Uwe Bergmann

Kai-Uwe Bergmann on the Photography of Søren Solkær

For the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) partner, the photographer’s “frozen murmurations” represent the social impulses at the heart of Scandinavian society.

When I first saw the photographic works of Søren Solkær capturing the fluid movement of one of nature’s most spectacular phenomena—migrating birds moving in large swarms over the monotone marshes of Denmark—I found great tranquility in what he calls his “frozen murmurations.”

I moved to Denmark in the long shadows of late summer 2004. Driving from the Northern Alps through those Southern Denmark marshes, I was welcomed by the same calligraphic brushstroke landscapes seen in Solkær’s images. A sense of welcome and belonging swept over me in response to this collective congregation of countless starlings, all moving and darting collaboratively. 

From that moment forward I knew I had entered Scandinavia. A week later, I started my first language course to learn Danish, and the very first word they taught was samfund, which means “society.” I learned that what is deep in the DNA of these starlings, as well as at the center of Scandinavian existence, is the power of the “we” over the “I.”

black and white art photograph of murmuration of birds flying over a marsh

As a partner at Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Kai-Uwe Bergmann, FAIA, heads the company’s business development and oversees its urban-scale projects. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, IE University in Madrid, and the University of Virginia, and was on the board of the Van Alen Institute. He participates in numerous international juries and lectures globally on BIG’s work.

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