22 metal signs, size: b = 23 x h = 17 cm. Etching in zinc. Documentation from Labour mounted different places in the centre of Trondheim

To labour or to be working are associated with good health. However, struggling with chronic illnesses can also be experienced as continuous work or labour. In our society, being mentally ill can be experienced as a taboo. At the same time, there is something generally humorous and entertaining in the reminder of all the insanity of life.

ICD 10 is the name of the international statistical classification system for illnesses and related health problems. It provides an overview of mental illnesses and the symptoms that characterise the various diseases. The catalogue is used by doctors and psychologists to help them diagnose patients. I have selected fragments of sentences that describe symptoms of mental illnesses. The subject in each sentence has been removed, so that what remains are only descriptions of human actions.

Removed from their context, these actions might not appear pathological anymore. I can recognise myself in several of them, and occasionally I have to smile of all the irrationality and absurdity that accompanies being a human being.

In this project, I want to make the hidden aspects of these diseases more visible and less frightening – I try to open up for a consideration of the abnormal as something general and human. To labour can also be understood as being present or to be in contact with oneself. Sometimes I ask myself who does the labour, those who show these actions or those who do not.

On the signs, I have referenced where the texts are taken from in the catalogue. In this way, the texts can appear as bible quotations or words of wisdom. I put up the signs illegally around the city of Trondheim – an act which symbolised a break with what is accepted and considered normal in the public space. In the course of a few days, all the signs had been removed.