What is collective trauma, and how can it be faced? Jette Hye Jin Mortensen addresses trauma in an untraditional way, investigating the dynamics between the individual and the collective, the emotional and the scientific in her installation The Apology. Based on her own experiences of being born in South Korea and growing up in Denmark, she transforms Overgaden into a healing space.
In 2010 in the House of Commons the English Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a formal apology for England’s role in forcibly sending more than 100,000 poverty-stricken English children to the British colonies. Many of these Home Children ended up living in slave-like conditions as labourers. Others were abused, neglected – or forgotten. For Jette Hye Jin Mortensen, the apology to surviving Home Children and their families had a personally healing effect, at the same time as marking the starting point for a closer examination of the elements of collective trauma. How does society acknowledge trauma? How do we come to terms with it? And how can the forced emigration from England be compared to our current adoption sys- tem – as an yet unacknowledged trauma?
Jette Hye Jin Mortensen removes trauma from the political landscape to focus the gaze on her own cells. If we are all part of the same life form, collective change can also begin within a single cell of a single human body. In a comparative study, she dissolves our hierarchies and concepts of trauma. Buddhist philosophy merges with quantum mechanics, warm feelings and astrophysics. Science goes hand in hand with karma.