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It happens that a building ends its days in another way than intended. Take the large Grande Hotel Beira in Mozambique. It was built in 1955 for the   colonial jet set, but was closed down just eight years after it had opened. Today a different clientele has taken over the use of the building. The distance between how a building is conceived and how it is used can be an image of the distance between a political project and a social reality. It is possible to find both contemporary and historical precedents of this. Architecture has always played a central role when it comes to shaping the future. After independence in the various African countries architecture came to play a determining role – spectacular buildings and monuments for the new leaders were erected all over the continent. The construction projects can be said to represent the political utopias in the respective countries – as anticipations of something that was not yet within reach. The future plays a major role today too. Buildings are created not only with the practical functions of the future in mind, but also to get a little closer to the future as   a phenomenon – a building may potentially act out a leap in time. In contemporary art you see many artists across the continent engaging in these imagined futures, so many that a term has been invented to describe this tendency: afrofuturism. BUILDING FUTURES 227


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