In preparation for a psychodrama

Artist: annika eriksson Tags: temporary art

“Once upon a time, the mine in Grängesberg was one of Sweden’s largest workplaces. The mine closed down a long time ago and the town’s circumstances are now completely different. Similar places exists all over Europe and they can tell us a great deal about our contemporary reality. However, Annika Eriksson’s film is not a portrait of Grängesberg, but an artistic interpretation of a global change: By starting with the realisation that you can only understand the age in which you live by looking back and forward at the same time, Annika Eriksson creates the sensation of a time pocket in which ghosts from the past linger while waiting for a future that has not yet revealed itself.”

The curator Lisa Rosendahl on Annika Eriksson’s In preparation for a psychodrama

Annika Eriksson is the second artist to be invited by the Public Art Agency Sweden to create a new work in the series Industrial Society in Transition. The series deals with one of the greatest social changes of our time: the transition from the height of industrialism to today. The artists interpret this theme according to their own artistic practices in various places in Sweden.

Annika Eriksson’s fictive short film “In Preparation for a Psychodrama” introduces us to a group of young people who appear to have been caught in a time capsule. Placed in a setting shaped by older ideals, they are waiting for a future that is yet to begin. Feverish activities in the struggle to clean up and reconfigure the props from a preceding civilisation are interpolated with their fumbling attempts to find new contexts and ways of relating to one another.

Like a surrealist chamber play, the film leads us into various spatial and psychological dead ends. The incoherent dialogue and the protagonists’ inability to make their lives meaningful contrasts starkly with the environments they inhabit. The welfare state, with its clear policies on work and leisure, private and public, individual and collective, forms a ghostly, and apparently ineffectual, backdrop to the quest for a new society. Instead of a linear narrative, the events in Eriksson’s film are intentionally fragmented and confused. The image of Sweden as a modern industrial nation in perpetual development and growth has got stuck in a film loop with no beginning or end.

Suddenly, something unexpected flits past; a silver-white drone hovers in among the human bodies and out above the landscape. Silently and indifferently, it records the life of the people from a distance. Perhaps the future is already here among us, although we are incapable of seeing it since it looks so different from what we expected? In the science fiction dreams of the 1950s and 60s about the coming millennium, technological miracles would make future life both more fun and more efficient. Instead, something else entirely has transpired; invisible, anonymous and far more inscrutable.

“In Preparation for a Psychodrama” was filmed in Folkets Park and Folkets Hus, Grängesberg. The Grängesberg mine was once one of Sweden’s largest workplaces. It was closed in the 1980s, and life in the community is now characterised by other employers and activities. Annika Eriksson lets the environments in Grängesberg represent a metaphor for life in contemporary Sweden.

Lisa Rosendahl is the curator for the series Industrial Society in Transition.