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Heidi Hove (DK)
Welcome

By Damhussøen where Ålekistevej begins, Heidi Hove has put a sign as a kind of gesture to welcome us to Ålekistevej. But at the same time, the sign looks like a foreign object that inquires into local identity and change.

How would you describe your work?


Heidi Hove
I want to donate a sign to Ålekistevej as a city nameplate at the entrance to the street near the lake. It was produced in an old ornamented style with the inscription ‘Welcome to ÅLEKISTEVEJ’carved in wood. Further down, the sign mentions the year of the street’s foundation and at the top there is a relief of an eel trap (Ålekiste). The sign has been painted blue and the text itself is gold, which gives a ceremonious impression and adds authority and character to the area.

I have been very preoccupied by Ålekistevej, its history and development through time and I hope that the work will create wonder and curiosity among the passers by. That people will see their local area with new eyes. A sign such as this will probably seem completely out of place and isolated but it will also insistently remind the passer by of the history contained in the area. Maybe this way one would enter the area with greater awe and respect. On the other hand, the design of the sign may seem so disconnected from its surroundings that it rather points out what might be regarded as a worrying development in the area, which would in stead make you doubt the sign’s nostalgia. Almost like a desperate search for identity.

So what at a first glance may look like a nostalgic presentation of Ålekistevej will, after further study, nurture a feeling of being at the wrong place, that something is wrong?

HH Yes, it is a comment on the complexity of the area. To me, the development of the neighbourhood is marked by a lack of stability. The area around Ålekistevej has an interesting history but today it looks like any other suburban neighbourhood characterized by monotonous architecture and heavy traffic. Closer scrutiny reveals, however, that the neighbourhood consists of tiny time warps and that the quarter hasn’t developed at the same pace as the rest of Copenhagen. It has a specific quality worthy of preservation – but for how long can Ålekistevej preserve this unique characteristic? Today, one has to take a thorough look to find these disappearing qualities.

How does the sign point out these qualities?

HH By referencing the historical events in the area. For example the fact that Ålekistevej was founded in 1779 and then served as a dividing road between seven small farms with names that still name streets and constructions in the area. Or Damhussøen, which used to supply Copenhagen with water. Here, the water was accumulated in a small pond that contained an eel trap, hence the name Ålekistevej.

Ålekistevej 12. Fully accessible

Photo: Heidi Hove