Behandlingen / The Treatment

Behandlingen / The Treatment, 2016

Video, sound, HD, 6.30 min, performance

The starting point for this work is the health resort, a phenomenon that became popular in Europe and Sweden at the turn of the last century. The work consists of a series of filmed scenes involving various treatments ranging from mud and seaweed baths to assorted electrotherapy treatments and showers, all of which have been inspired by texts and visual instructions that had been given to visitors.

The spa was an environment constructed around certain ideas relating to the healing qualities of water on both body and mind. While they often contained strict schedules, sometimes including treatments that could take several months, it was also a place that was considered to be a sort of paradise. Women were often sent to health resorts after a difficult childbirth, a miscarriage or if suffering from infertility, chlorosis or hysteria. Patients at the spa were permitted to be a little bit freer, women had to wear less encumbering clothing so as to be able to move about easier, and it was more permissible to interact between the social classes.

During the exhibition period visitors could book themselves in for hydrotherapy – a combination of contemporary health trends and treatments from that era that (with today’s knowledge) often exposed people to unnecessary suffering.

The exhibition was shown in 2015 at the mobile gallery Trailer Gallery in Umeå, located on the spot where a natural spa had been at the end of the 18th century. The exhibition has also been shown at Makeriet in Malmö in 2016, where I also organised a workshop in making homemade soap containing rose-hip leaves picked from outside the decommissioned nuclear power plant Barsebäck.