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Art project reinvigorates forgotten hospital

Once an epidemic hospital and psychiatric clinic for children, Konstepidemin is now home to more than one hundred artists. A newly initiated project aims to tell the stories of the former residents of the hospital.

Once an epidemic hospital and psychiatric clinic for children, Konstepidemin is now home to more than one hundred artists. A newly initiated project aims to tell the stories of the former residents of the hospital.

The epidemic hospital was founded back in 1886, and operated for more than one hundred years, until it was transformed into a psychiatric clinic in the 70’s. The building stood empty for years until the late 80’s when a group of artists took over. Today, the building houses approximately 130 artists, musicians, dancers, writers and film makers. 
”Konstepidemin is a fantastic spot with all its activities. But when I first came here, I was struck by the notion that the epidemic hospital had left a huge void. After all, it’s been one hundred years – the epidemic hospital has been here for a lot longer than the studios” says Tomas Ferm, the initiator of the project.

Elisabeth Punzi, a psychologist and researcher who also takes part in the project, agrees:
”Nothing reminds me of the hospital. Together with the artists – who are the leaders of the project – we are going to make a permanent exhibition out of this”, she says.

The project started in March with an inauguration and the next step is a public excavation set to take place on May 4th.
”We want people to join, we want to tell the stories of those who were patients and have memories from the hospital” Elisabeth Punzi says.

”I respect the past. Especially when human experiences and impressions are at risk. Artists, poets, film makers and musicians are going to create pieces for this project and convey the stories of the hospital. Their unique interpretations will activate the architecture and the historical area in unexpected ways” says Tomas Ferm.

The project is a collaboration between the Heritage Academy, Konstepidemin, CCHS Centre for Critical Heritage Studies, the Medical History Museum, Folkuniversitetet and the association Spotcity. The opening of the exhibition is set to 2021.