Not different to so many other places on earth, Greenland has been a colony for hundreds of years. Directed from Denmark. It is interesting to observe how we have dealt with living under opression that considers itself a saviour in many ways. To help primitive people to survive was the opinion of the ‘developed’ nations while of course ripping off the valuables locally. I question how this concept has been developed into local freedom of course. It seems mostly fake. For example in Mozambique where I have been involved for some years it is interesting to visit the areas in the North where they have industry of growing tea and tobacco and various other things while one can not buy it locally but can only get it from chain supermarkets packaged by European or global firms. All this even though these local countries are now considered ‘free’ or ‘independent’. In Greenland the people have been developing their culture in cooperation with the colonial directors in Denmark. Something not so out of date in my country Iceland that became a republic from Denmark during the Second World War in 1944.

In Greenland there is the capital NUUK where there are some horrible blocks of flats built in the 70’s and 80’s. Many of them are built by Icelandic construction companies actually. This was done to help the culture ‘develop’ by moving small communities from isolated locations where they had lived for centuries into a centralized area. Something that other cultures saw as ‘cultured’. People were shifted to the blocks and put on the dole really since their survival methods were not available in the constructed town. Now, one of the famous blocks is going to be demolished with some ideas of improvement of living. I am not sure. This block has had large and various social problems historically. Students from the Danish Design School are there now to meet and learn about living in the block and I have been allowed to come along as a kind of an ignorant observer.

We went to Nuuk last year to study the visual culture of the place and meeting the people in Nuuk has for me been a revelation because there exist so strange ideas in the Nordic countries about the types of people and culture. There have been many stories about how Inuit people cannot handle culture (meaning capitalistic and European culture) and can not handle alcohol for example. My experience last year was quite different when we spent 3 days in a rock festival where I saw less booze around than in the normal similar activity in Europe.

It will be interesting to see the results about the history of living in this Block  and the interviews that the design students get from the locals. Maybe we can draw some conclusions about design method and how it has operated with political dominance from Western politics, completely the same situation in Maputo, Mozambique where I have been living.

The second step will be to see how culture can develop independently in location, based on the experience of colonialism and how independence can develop from local materials, cultures in mixture with the colonial experience. We have been living the same in Mozambique and many other places that I personally do not know. Here are two images of the block that is leaving the city early next year. We have been so fortunate to be allowed to live in one of the left over flats for this project and meet many local persons that have had all their life in the block.