Bed shelter 2011

Site specific installation

 

The installation Bed shelter is designed specifically for the exhibition Greek Island* in relation to the concepts of protection and detention. The underground spaces of the Ethniki Insurance Mansion at Korai 4 str initially were built as air raid shelters and then it was commandeered by the German head quarters in Athens during the war. It was used as prison and transit centre.

 

In 1941 the English Government provided free to households whose combined income was less than £400 per year (£22.000 in 2015) an assembly kit in order to build an indoor shelter.

It was designed by Sir John Baker and named after Herbert Morrison the minister of Home Security at that time.

They were approximately 2 m long, 1.2 m wide and 75 cm high had a solid 3 mm steel plate “table” top, welded wire mesh sides, and a metal lath “mattress”- type floor. Altogether it had 359 parts and had 3 tools supplied with the pack.

It was designed to enable the family to sleep inside the shelter at night or during raids and to use it as dining table during daytime.

Half a million Morrison shelters were distributed till the end of 1941 and 100.000 more in 1943.

 

The installation Bed shelter imitates the design of the Morrison shelter. It is designed to be used as a single bed and to fit inside one of the detentions cells of the first basement.

 

Greek island* exhibition 27/04-16/07/2011

Ethniki Insurance Mansion, Site of Historical Memory 1941-1944, Athens

Curated by the group of artists participating in the show

 

*code name of the secret bunker built to shelter the United States Congress members

 

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© 2015 MARIA NYMFIADI