Moderlandet – The 1% of Blok P

by Hallgerdur

How do you imagine a land, a place, a nation? And how does one document those things?

The coming months I will use this blog as a venue for posting thoughts and musings, progress and failure in capturing the nations of Faroe Islands, Greenland and Iceland. The name of the project Moderlandet or The Motherland refers to how these nations were once united under the Danish flag and my intentions of looking into the relationships between these countries using photography as my medium.

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My first trip to Greenland looms near and feeling daunted and excited I make little Google-rounds to see if I can get any closer. One of my favorite things found on these digital trips is Blok P. Blok P was a gigantic 200 meters long residential building erected smack in the center of Nuuk in 1965-66 in an effort by the Danish government to modernize the Inuit lifestyle. Until its demolition in 2012 this graffiti covered modern monster housed 1% of the country’s population in 320 flats.

Blok P was by no means designed to fit its future occupants who would have trouble entering narrow doorways in bulky gear and clog drains with blood from their pray dragged up five stories to be gutted in the bathtub. Nor was it designed to add beauty to the capital of Greenland. This architectural catastrophe is very much reminiscent of Le Corbusier’s Radiant City attempting efficient storage of human beings, whose lives were to be lived with utmost efficiency, not enjoyment. Lonely Planet described Blok P as “…so depressing that it’s almost an attraction in itself.”

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The trip to Greenland and Moderlandet-project is made with the help of the Vestnorræni höfuðborgasjóðurinn and Air Iceland / Flugfélag Íslands.

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