BLOK P - an apartment block in Nuuk, 1966-2012. Photos, text, sound installation, interviews and film
Curator: Rikke Diemer
16 November - 6 April 2014
Documentation and narrative in words, sound, images and objects about life in one of the Commonwealth's largest housing blocks, Blok P in Nuuk, which was demolished in 2012.
When Blok P was completed in Nuuk in 1966, the enormous apartment building was the Commonwealth's largest residential property and a symbol of the modern development in Greenlandic society. But the 5 storey high and 200 meter long property on Store Slette in the middle of Nuuk also became for many the symbol of a failed centralization policy and has often been referred to as an architectural disaster.
But after the demolition, Blok P lives on to a large extent in the hearts of all those who have experienced the striking building and not least those who have lived in the property - which was 1% of the entire population of Greenland!
The exhibition BLOK P
BLOK P - the artwork as dialogue
We are talking about cultural history, architecture, planning, anthropology and colonial history - but without them, no work is accepted. Art is really a conversation - a work does not exist independently of time and place - it is part of a story, a process, a situation. A dialogue with the surroundings, where the process does not steer towards a goal determined by the artist, but allows the goal to arise out of the dialogue.
By curator Rikke Diemer and Niels Bennetzen
The BLOK P exhibition is an amalgamation of six different projects, all of which have the block of flats as their point of departure, and which together convey parts of the history of the property and its residents. In words, pictures and objects, you are presented with, among other things, for former residents' memories of the carefree life of childhood, both before and after the construction of the block, the relief of having running water, pull and drop and shops and a new strong social network around them.
The focus is anthropologically on the traces that the lived life left behind in and around the block, just as the month-long demolition itself is documented with a spectacular time-lapse, where you see the cranes devouring the monumental building. And like a piece of the Berlin Wall, part of an entrance wall with graffiti stands in the middle of the exhibition - a testimony to the settlement's misplacedness in the Arctic and a source of reflection!
The exhibition thus brings together art, colonial and contemporary history, anthropology, architecture and urban planning. And the story of Blok P, life in it and the property's transformation from a modernist prestige project to a dilapidated concrete slum unfit for habitation, is thus told through the tracks of several people, based on personal testimonies and experiences from both residents and the project's participants.
The exhibition was shown earlier this year in the cultural center Katuaq in Nuuk.
Rikke Diemer - Curator of the exhibition
Artist Rikke Diemer, who is the curator of the exhibition, contributes the films 'Blok P', an hour-long video of the demolition and the documentary film Memories of Blok P, graffiti and photo montages in the windows and on the floor of the exhibition. Rikke Diemer has previously decorated the gable of Blok Q with ravens when she worked in Tusarliivik. The first part of the film about 'Blok P' was shown at the international architecture exhibition during the Venice Biennale in 2012. Rikke Diemer has produced the film about 'Blok P' in collaboration with Peter Jensen.
Video producer Peter Jensen from Inuk Media Aps has produced short films, documentaries, backgrounds, spots and commercials for a number of years. Peter has received great recognition for his productions, including the Greenlandic marketing award, platinum for best information spot in an international competition and a Danish gold medal for best multimedia program. At this exhibition, Peter photographed and edited the film Memories of Blok P.
Graphic designer LissStender has worked for a number of years with graphic organization for AG, Atuakkiorfik, Pisiffik, KNR, DR and TV2. Most recently, she has developed 'Modern Greenlandic Culture Design', and her applied art with Greenlandic motifs can be enjoyed at inukdesign.com. In 2012, LissStender received Kommuneqarfik Sermersooq's initiative award. LissStender has contributed to this exhibition with 'Impressions of life', which consists of a series of close-ups from 'Blok P'.
Photojournalist Jørgen Chemnitz has gained great recognition for his exhibitions, his articles, films and books, and is known for both lovingly portraying nature and people with his photographs and also for skewering today's society in his articles. Jørgen Chemnitz contributes the article "Mikropolis" to this exhibition, an article originally written for Weekendavisen. The article can be read in its entirety in this folder.
Tone Huse and Carsten Aniksdal
Social geographer Tone Huse and photographer and filmmaker Carsten Aniksdal are from Norway. Carsten is particularly concerned with what happens before and after an incident, and Tone researches what happens at the intersection between what takes place in the cities and the political processes. The two Norwegians have photographed the demolition of 'Blok P', and are investigating the significance of the demolition for society. Tone and Carsten contribute a number of photographs to this exhibition.
Sarah Bodil Tierney and Matylda Rasmussen
Designer Matylda Rasmussen works as a freelancer with illustration, layout and events. Designer Sarah Bodil Tierney works with illustration, lithography, copperplate printing and animation. In addition, she deals with audio narratives and design anthropology. During their studies, Sarah and Matylda lived in an abandoned apartment in Blok P, and researched stories rooted in Greenlandic culture. They take us on a tour behind the stories of social housing construction - as a special look at Nordic values such as community and welfare.