NASKOV—Situated in the tower of an old milk condensing factory, this room with a view from all sides was the headquarters for my summer project in Lolland, Denmark, 2010. Visitors or residents of Lolland were able to come by to discuss their visions with local journalist Gorm Frederik Rasmussen who collaborated on the project. People were asked what not to do in Lolland, their visions transcribed and circulated online and in various print media, books and posters
Visions of What Not to Do in Lolland (A Selection)
1/ When you set up a business, a company, you certainly shouldn’t forget the Tax Authorities – because they won't forget you!
2/ Never throw out the children's toys without asking them first, even when they have grown to be adults. Even the most ragged teddy bear may be very special. That's probably how it got to be so ragged!
3/ You can't move out into the countryside and expect that everything will be idyllic, just because the sky is wide and you can see the stars at night and wake up to birdsong. Forget all about idylls. Then one day it will come along by itself and smile at you. It's a vagabond. It's hard work
4/ If you want to catch eels, you shouldn’t forget to keep an eye on the elderberry bushes. Once they flower, you might as well forget all about it until September. It keeps them away
5/ If you want to be a dairyman you certainly can't oversleep, because then all the milk will turn into buttermilk, and the butter will have too much water in it. It can take a whole day to pack it by hand. It's probably still like that. We made both Havarti and Swiss cheese. But now there aren’t any dairies left around here, and no cows. You hardly see a soul!
6/ You shouldn't just take a negative attitude to the financial crisis. There are lots of small workshops and businesses like mine that are doing well. I have never soled so many shoes or cut so many keys. I'm not one for being negative, anyway. My customers should always have something to take home with them – a little joke, for example. Then they feel better. And so do I. I sleep like a log all night
7/ If you are an unemployed bricklayer, you shouldn't get up as early as you used to do. That way you get drunk too fast
8/ You shouldn't rely on what you already think you know about human beings. You may know a lot, but you should start from scratch each time you meet a new person. Be a blank slate. Otherwise you can easily become prejudiced, and your experience will dry out instead of growing
9/ You should be cautious, and not just say yes without thinking when you are asked to organise one of those cousin get-togethers. The other day someone I didn't know called me up and asked me about my grandmother. She told me that so far she'd found 250 cousins and half-cousins
10/ You shouldn't think you can just voice your own opinions when you sell computers of all brands. Many Mac, Windows and Linux users hate each other. You can't get involved in that if you want to survive in the business. Some of them are a bit like football fans
11/ You should never get so drunk on New Year's Eve that you throw up on the hostess' Christmas presents – or at any rate, not on those she wants to exchange!
12/ I'm not religious, but you shouldn't forget to say an evening prayer anyway. I say a little prayer every night, and say to whoever-it-is: I've had such a good day, thank you for that, and if I don't wake up tomorrow, it doesn't matter
13/ When you vaccinate elderly people, you mustn't promise them that you will only prick them once; you have to remember that the flesh is old. I heard that about "the flesh" when I was eighteen. That's 70 years ago. I was working at an old people's home where a sweet old lady had died during the night, and her rather grumpy husband, who was both blind and very deaf, did not realise it. He was a bit ill, so the doctor came to give him an injection, and had to do it twice. He died that night right beside his wife. I have often wondered whether it was something the doctor did. And when I tell that story, people say: "Wasn't that beautiful!" I also often think about how I forgot to keep my promise to the old man, because he always said, "Don't forget our shrouds!" They were clothes to be buried in, and it was always the first thing a newly-wed woman would sew for her home. That's the way it was. And they were to be buried in those, but I forgot, so they were buried in paper clothes
14/ You shouldn't be afraid of growing old and ugly. My father always said to me: "You won't become ugly when you grow old. You can't become something that you've always been"