Gustav Hellberg

In Your Head | outdoor version


Dimensions variable
Fluorescent light tubes, steel-door, wood, sound unit with speakers, usb-stick with MP3-sound-file.

Kalmar konstmuseum [Kalmar Art Museum], Kalmar, Sweden

In the artwork In Your Head we find ourselves in front of a door standing ajar. We can’t perceive the room behind the door. From behind the door we can hear a voice repeating the question: “Is it safe?” We can’t open the door, as it is fixed in a slightly open position. Is there someone or something behind it? An uncomfortable uncertainty emerges. The unknown can be dangerous and be felt as a threat. Who is asking the question and to whom is it put? What is it that is supposed to be safe? What are we afraid of?

This artwork is located close to one of the entrances of Kalmar Art Museum. A segment of the building’s characteristic facade has been displaced outwards by half a metre. In the middle of this new segment a door has been placed, fixed so that it is always slightly open with a chink of 100 mm. Behind the door is a curved wall, illuminated by hidden fluorescent light tubes, making it difficult to understand the size of the concealed space. From hidden loudspeakers comes the sound of a man’s voice: a phrase borrowed from a torture scene in the movie Marathon Man. The actor Laurence Olivier repeatedly puts the question “Is it safe?” to his victim, played by Dustin Hoffman. The entire scene has been used but the sound has been altered so we hear only Laurence Olivier's calm voice. Hoffman’s replies and the sound of the torturing have been phased out.