Site as Heritage or the Time Capsule
“It was built in 1908 and no alterations were made in the workshop since then, apart from the windows that were falling out” said Lars Gärskog, the original owner of the property. For him the workshop will survive for a long time to come and no one would dare demolish the place. But how can such a place guarantee its survival?
Against all odds the PJ Carlsson’s workshop has somehow managed to survive, maybe because of it being in a secluded place hidden out fo site. Sone parts of it were later moved to a museum, while some parts remained in the workshop. Apart from a group of musicians who use the space for rehearsals, no-one else uses the space today. There is only one key to the workshop which is kept at the municipality. In theory anyone can get the key so in that respect it is actually open to public. Although not many people know about it, so in a practical sense it is not accessible. A younger visitor, who joined the screening of Chapter One: Site as Heritage or the Time Capsule, was asked if she knew about the place, she answered that she had heard about the workshop from her father who knew about the place. She was the only person from a younger generation who had bothered to visit and experience the workshop that day.
On a few occasions the municipality have used the place for exhibitions during festivals but they don’t have the resources to keep it open every day. Also it is hard to categorize what kind of place the workshop actually is, it is not a museum, it is not a functional studio and it is not formally owned by the municipality. It was never a place that was purely used by artists or musicians, it was a place where the carpenters made decorations and carvings out of wood. It was foremost a workplace. It was admittedly a place where lots of local artists passed though even if they did not always use the space to make art or paint. It was a place where artistic and political discussions would often take place even if the reasons for being there was their carpentry, a means to keep their financial situation in balance.
Torbjörn Skobe wrote several articles about what was happening in the workshop, he wrote about its history, something which later helped us to learn about the workshop and the people who worked there. Those articles were published in the local newspaper Tranås Posten and later made into a book: Inte Bara en Verkstad. He only published 1000 copies of the book and today it is out of print and much sought after. Since the success of Skobe's book subsided no one has shown much interest in the place. Inte Bara en Verkstad is full of stories and characters, and just like a novel or a story the characters in the workshop come to life in the mind of the reader for short while. However what he wrote was not fiction, it was real and took place in the heart of the local community.
Most people agree that PJ Carlsson’s Bildhuggeri will never be destroyed. Firstly, its too small to be renovated and turned into a flat. Secondly on a more emotional level there are still people who are attached to the place, some of whom have tried through certain informal agreements make sure that the place lives on. Per and Lisa Tidman point out the fact the workshop is still there is proof that the agreements are still valid. Yet according to them there are some still some overhanging risks that the workshop might disapear, “We are a small group of older musicians who still use the place, but once we are gone, who knows if the workshop will remain?” With other words, there is a risk that the workshop might disappear once people have forgotten about it.
Chapter One: Site as Heritage or the Time Capsule consists of a video installation which includes interviews with local people who have been close to the workshop or are connected to people who once worked there. There is of course a sense of nostalgia surrounding the place but the video attempts to capture ideas about the workshop's current state and focuses on what might happen to it in the future and its relevance for the city today.
According to Sven Karlsson the place is about the people that were there. “It is Åke and Tor and Torbjörn. These are the three people who left traces within me. The space itself definitely comes second”.