15.08. - 12.09.2009
SLUSSEN (THE SLIDING GATE)
Sluss is the Swedish word for sliding gate, a chamber for instance engineered to even out levels in order to allow something to flow from one side to the other.
Slussen is the name of a place in Stockholm where the people of the city gather, a traffic hub where north meets south. It's a crossroads and a meeting point. At this place, a small camouflaged hut squats on the sidewalk. Inside, you find a hatch in the floor that opens to a tunnel network, which takes you down and around. This clandestine hut is also called Slussen. It’s a passage between the below and the above.
"There was only a thin wall separating the cell from the world outside. Through a narrow opening between the boards I could glimpse the busy streets, people hurrying past Slussen. I heard the sounds of their footsteps on the sidewalk, fragments of conversations and the noise of cars and busses. From this hideaway I felt like an untouchable observer.
All the necessities for survival were available in there: a place to sleep, a small supply of food and a few old photographs on one of the walls (which documented the construction of Slussen’s tunnels) and an ingenious, handmade lock construction which secured the door. If the unthinkable happened, there was an escape route down a collapsible ladder that lead to the underground spaces and pathways. Down there, a fantastic geography stretched out below, ready to be discovered.”
Quotation from Asylum by Peter Cornell.
Since the room was constructed in 2005, it has been an ongoing task to maintain and repair it. The hut was closed off by the authorities last year, but since then it has been reclaimed and reconstructed. An adjoining room has been built and a new entrance makes the space accessible again.
Curious about the people who visit the tunnels beneath Slussen, a camera has been installed, perfectly hidden behind false bricks that blend into the wall. A motion sensor triggers the camera when somebody passes by.
In 2011, Slussen faces a total makeover in the spirit of the age of city renewal. The tunnels will be filled with concrete and a high-rise shopping mall will stand on top.