The interventions make the local residents aware of the place. And this provides an opportunity for exchanging personal memories. Which strengthens our collective memory.
In Denmark we demolish
To provide an example: Mo has been working with three buildings on the main street of Hurup, in Thy. Here he encapsulated an imprint of the gable of a building located there, in order to create a connection to the past.
The necessity of striking a blow for our collective memory does not least result from the Danish eagerness to tear down buildings rather than transform them.
‘Here in Denmark the tradition of transformation is weak. We are quick to tear down and construct new buildings. That is what our entire building industry is geared for. There is a marked contrast to South Africa, where I have been working on several occasions. Down there, labour is cheap, whereas materials are expensive. For this reason their approach to building transformation is more developed. In Denmark, the opposite is the case.’
From three to ten floors
Mo mainly works in Thy, where migration away from the area and lack of resources make renovating unprofitable. It is, however, also a big problem in the larger towns. Paradoxically, there it is the high value of the land that makes renovating unprofitable.
‘The municipalities may well sell properties for demolition, even if a preservation-worthy three-story building is located on it. For you can make more money tearing down a building and constructing ten stories on the same plot.’