Space of Exception (Black Mirrors)


Public Art Commission. Black pigmented glass, galvanized steel, flax rope, natural rubber.

State of emergencythe temporary annulment of the rule of lawcan be explained as a tool for political and social control in exceptionally difficult circumstances. The concept has been developed further to cover emergency sites or spaces of exception: areas where “normal” laws no longer apply and where people are exposed to assault or abuse through being deliberately deprived of their fundamental human rights. The area Trekanten (the Triangle) has a history of being a borderland, a place that connects three parishes through their sharing a common boundary. Execution sites were often placed on these borders, as a way of supervising, controlling and, through local beliefs or folklore, “scaring” people to keep themselves within their own area, on the right side of the border. 

In Space of Exception (Black Mirrors) Conny Karlsson Lundgren has created a temporary memorial park . The area is marked by material that is otherwise used for demarcation and temporary building work, and its form derives from the site’s variable borders that have been drawn between 1693 (a few years before the first executions) and today. Seven standardized surveillance mirrors, which usually illuminate obscure or hidden spaces requiring increased oversight, have been turned into Claude glasses, one per executed person. Claude glasses or black mirrors began to be used by landscape painters and travellers during the same period as the executions. Here the mirrors reflect the site in order to reinforce Trekanten’s narrative and generate a contemporary discussion about borders. How people get stuck in large border areas, how they are de-humanized and become invisible while waiting for someone to take responsibility. 

Space of Exception (Black Mirrors), installation view, Trekanten, Region Gävleborg, 2017. Photo: Mike Karlsson Lundgren.
Research/sketches: spread from L'orthopedie ou l'art de prevenir et de corriger dans les enfans, Les difformites du corps, Nicholas Andry, 1741.
Space of Exception (Black Mirrors), scale model 1:100.
Research/sketches: Claude Glass, (18th century), Tekniska Museet, TEKS0055266.
Research/sketches: Map of how the border area changes from 1693, a few years before the first executions, to the present day.

Space of Exception (Black Mirrors) was produced as part of Borderlands, Spaces In Between, Precipies, a project initiated by The Prison Museum of Sweden, together with Region Gävleborg, as to identify and investigate former execution sites in the county of Gävleborg. In the frame of the project seven artist were commissioned to produce a temporary public art work for a selection of the sites.Public Art Commission: Trekanten, Region Gävleborg SE.

 ©MMXIV Conny Karlsson Lundgren