The original idea for the Remedies project was sketched out during our stay in New York on 11th September, 2001. We were visiting New York for Sasha’s grandfather Pageo’s 85th birthday.
Pageo had told us how to remove two strangely symmetrical warts on Sasha’s left and right thumbs. He recommended an old Haitian method of scraping early-morning saliva from the back of your tongue and rubbing it onto the warts. After a few days, the warts began to shrink, and then disappeared perma- nently within a week.
Perhaps this disappearance was the result of a psychosomatic change of environment, coincidence, or some other neurophysiological cause? Interestingly, no external medicine was required. It was as if an orally transmitted prescription had begun to do its work in a spontaneous remedy. Cultures are filled with methods of self-help and medical healing. When it comes to health, we rarely use our common sense and environmental awareness to make second guesses. Regardless of whether the methods actually work or not, they contain strands of cultural knowledge that celebrate a heritage. Perhaps people’s attitudes to healing are inscribed into beliefs and the enactment of narrative remedies.
While in Fittja during the winter, we looked around the community. We saw children, families, groups of men and women approached them and asked about their remedies. This book presents those remedies, while the videos enact some of them.
Remedies was commissioned by Botkyrka Konsthall on the occasion of Fittja Open 2011.