re·cal·cu·late, to calculate again, especially for the purpose of finding an error or confirming a previous computation.
For several months, the artist-patient has been making cardboard structures, at first in his room and now, with permission, in an empty interview space within the Bethlem Royal Hospital.
The temporary cardboard structure, repeatedly modified, documents the endless process of adjustment which occurs as the individual calculates and recalibrates his relationship to the institution. The structure is simultaneously a form of escape, a hiding place, a filter, a second-skin – an alternative way of inhabiting the institution but also a reflection and a critique of its spaces and rules.The structure has a specific use-value for the person who made it. Survival in any institution requires a series of recalibrations, moments when you conform and others when you resist. Making this structure is a response to the question: How do I make this space adapt to me when I am constantly being asked to adapt to it?
For the maker it is an opportunity and an invitation to occupy another space with its own rules – an autonomous zone – that both enables and protects. There are windows so you can look out, but the random shouts and noises which reverberate off the cold, institutional surfaces outside, inside are muffled and softened.
It is like a DIY Trojan horse, an ambiguous gift, but what is it smuggling in and out through the locked doors of the institution? It is an object that slips between categories.
The object will be shown alongside images documenting its making and installation in the spaces of the hospital.
Michaela Ross and Josip Lizatovic are artists who manage the art studios on site at Bethlem Royal Hospital. Bethlem Royal Hospital is the original 'Bedlam', one of the world's oldest hospitals for the treatment of mental illnesses. They are currently working together with the artist-patient in the medium secure unit of the hospital.