QUB – an Art development project within BUP, the child and youth psychiatry in Stockholm County Council, 2003 – 2006.

”The idea is to provide an opportunity for a renewal and development of the role of the artist, but above all to explore new possibilities for art to be integrated in, interact with and be part of the problem-solving capacities of a specific public locale and organisation. The project will in a variety of ways benefit the organisation. One way of describing the approach or method that the artists may make use of in the development project is to start from the concepts “Relational Aesthetics” within contemporary art and art theory.”

Ann Magnusson, project leader QUB
Excerpt from the first project proposal in 2003.

From October 2003 to June 2006 I was commissioned to work part-time with an artistic development program for BUP, the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry unit of Stockholm County. The starting point of the program was to realise, in different ways, the theoretical art term “relational aesthetic”. In the Project Presence I worked with the artist Niklas Hansson (S), with “presence” as an artistic strategy. This partly meant that we, as artists, refused a part of the artistic mandate “to express ourselves” that we had been given by the task.

We worked at establishing a place, a form of a fictitious "in-between space" where we—artists, patients, and staff—together, in different ways could process the meaning and implications of the clear division between health care "in here" and society "out there", and how this affected our understanding of “the healthy" and "the sick". The project ran for three years and contained many elements. Unfortunately, the publication in which the entire project is documented is only published in Swedish. The publication contains several parts, and my contribution is titled Hej. Vad gör du? kram (Hello. What Are You Doing? Hug), which partly consists of three months of logbook records from the project, as well as documentation from the exhibition Vad kan vi bidra med? - en utställning om det omöjliga i att inte påverka (Inställt p.g.a. vanmakt) [What can we do to contribute? - An exhibition about the impossibility of not influencing (Canceled due to powerlessness)].

In this exhibition we wanted to make room for a reflexive participation where experiences and skills that often otherwise remain within child and adolescent psychiatry are given space in a public exhibition room. We carried out public discussions about secrecy, aesthetic processes, and about families and networks; and we conducted workshops with groups of staff and groups of patients with whom we had already started collaborating with in different ways within the framework of the project. When we conducted a workshop with a group of employees from the family department, we could for example start work by asking the following questions: What is the importance of the family department to the world? Why are you important to the family department? Why is the family department important to you? And within that room, we created a space for this to take form and be expressed.

Never Come Back Here Again, installation and performance, What can we do to contribute? An exhibition about the impossibility of not influencing (cancelled due to powerlessness), Gallery ETC, Stockholm, 2004. (Part of the Project Presence)

Short about the performance:
I let my hospital chart from 1995 - 1996 lay besides me on the table for everyone to read. In the hospital chart you can read about the involuntary commitment decision from St: Görans psychiatric ward and about my over one year stay there. During the exhibitions four weeks I sit and rewrite my diary from that time. Two different stories are being told. Through the “memory work” the functions and effects of the official secrets legislation are made visible.

Never Come Back Here Again, Bang 1/2005, p. 26-28 (in Swedish).