In the summer of 2022, Lise Haller Baggesen spent four weeks at the Danish Art Workshops doing research/production for A Space Where Your Voices Can Live, an immersive textile installation and performance, which premiered at Malmö Konstmuseum in May 2023 and traveled to Roskilde Festival in June.
My time at the workshops was mostly spent producing (hand dying, quilting, and embroidering) tapestries for the show, in particular a big canopy which became the center piece of the installation. Research included a field trip to Skt Hans Hospitals Museum, which contains artwork by psychiatric patients in the hospital’s care, including works by Caroline Ebbesen, and a site visit to Villa d’Este, also on the hospital grounds. The residency also made it possible several site visits Malmö Kunstmuseum and studio visits with curator Anne Thomasen, in preparation for the show, as well as studio visits with Catherine Lefebvre and Rune Søchting from Art Music Denmark — which inspired Anne and myself to pitch the show with Roskilde Festival. All together a very productive stay.
A Space Where Your Voices Can Live is a performative exhibition exploring the totality of someone else’s mind. It is inspired by an anecdote passed down to me by my mother, who worked as an occupational therapist in psychiatric care throughout my childhood, about a woman who built a mansion in which to live, to co-exist, with the incessant voices who followed her around.
I have since visited Villa d’Este, which turns out to be the name of the house which was erected by the family of Palæmona von Treschow on the grounds of Skt Hans psychiatric hospital in 1905. However, the installation and performance that makes up A Space Where Your Voices Can Live is closer to a visualization of this mansion, as I imagined it as a tween, than to anything approaching a historical reenactment or documentary on the actual house and its inhabitant(s).
At the invitation of Malmö Konstmuseum, and taking its cue from the museum’s textile collections, spanning from national costumes to contemporary textile appliqués, A Space where your Voices Can Live tells a story about the institutional, communities of care, and how our personal stories fit into these greater societal narratives.
In correspondence with our dialogical cognitive functions and the idea of the costume as a carrier of identity, the performance wishes to generate insights into the complex understandings of our inner worlds. Our multitude. Our composition. By turning our perspective inwards, the observer might experience the solidarity between what is perceived to be sane and insane. As such the installation/performance is framed as a symbiosis between a human being and its thoughts.