BORDERLANDS, SPACES IN BETWEEN, PRECIPICES,
Only a few generations ago, people were publicly executed in Sweden. The executions took place not only in the cities, but all over the country – the “penalty” should be paid where the crime was committed. The idea that public death sentences would deter people from committing crimes was deeply rooted, and children and young people were encouraged to be present in the public to learn what could happen if they didn’t abide by the law and social norms.
Today’s humane society, governed by the rule of law, was not always self-evident. Between 1800 and 1864, there were 644 people publicly executed in Sweden – almost one per month and in the 1700s there were many more.
The Prison Museum of Sweden, together with Region Gävleborg, has engaged local residents to identify and investigate former execution sites in the county of Gävleborg. These sites reflect historical circumstances that have been rendered almost invisible in Sweden; many are unmarked and forgotten, despite the cruel and degrading acts that took place on them.
Starting from these detailed local studies, the project, BORDERLANDS, SPACES IN BETWEEN, PRECIPICES, will include contemporary art, museum programs and tours of a selection of the former execution sites. We will also place these sites in relation to the continuation of the death penalty in other parts of the world, and look at how these thematically limited spaces can be connected with other places with regard to power, repression and violations of equal rights in the world today.