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'Psychotic' art student charged for fake suicide

TT/The Local · 13 May 2009, 12:03

Published: 13 May 2009 12:03 GMT+02:00

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Prosecutors in Stockholm have filed three charged against the 35-year-old Odell, a student at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design (Konstfack) in Stockholm, with violent resistance, dishonest conduct and raising a false alarm.

“Quite simply, I believe she’s guilty of these crimes,” said public prosecutor Stefan Lind to TV4 news website Nyhetskanalen.se.

Odell’s alleged crimes took place on January 21st of this year when she was apprehended by police on Stockholm’s Liljeholm bridge following what looked like an attempt to commit suicide.

She was then taken to the psychiatric ward at St. Göran’s Hospital for treatment, only revealing the following day that the whole episode had been faked as a part of her final art exam at Konstfack.

The incident gained wide attention, with Odell and the school being heavily criticized by leading politicians and doctors from St. Göran’s Hospital.

Earlier this week, Odell’s final exam opened at the school under the title "Okänd, kvinna 2009-349701" (‘Unidentified woman 2009-349701’), which portrays in three parts the time before, during, and after her simulated psychotic break on the bridge.

Story continues below…

“Closed psychiatric care is the most dictatorial part of society we have, through which a patient can have all their rights taken from them. [And] it certainly needs to be, as I have also been helped by it myself. But there also needs to be control; patients are sometimes not believed,” Odell told TT in connection with the exhibition’s opening.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:53 May 13, 2009 by duncs
What a twit! i hope she is fined for wasting taxpayer funding.
14:40 May 13, 2009 by eZee.se
Fine her AND put her in a mental hospital for a few months treating her just like a normal patient... then let her come out and write her "report".
18:21 May 13, 2009 by abackstrom
No photos of the simulated breakdown?
18:55 May 13, 2009 by freethinker
Fine her, and any in the school who helped her do that. Hmmm... better yet send her back to the mental ward. Ovviously she intends to keep doing whatever it is she's doing, and therefor may cause harm to either herself or others.
23:45 May 13, 2009 by frey
galileo, mercator, odell.
00:24 May 14, 2009 by Puffin
Some CCTV film from when police try to get her down from the bridge in this report


Good that she's being prosecuted - why should the police and hospital staff have to put up with being assaulted and put in danger 'rescuing' her from the bridge as part of her school project? - bad enough if she was really ill - but at least understandable

The fact that her school is putting her 'art' in their exhibition shows a complete lack of ethics and integrity on the part of the art school.

Also is the wider issue of the lack of inpatient beds in Stockholm - perhaps she denied a bed to a person who really needed it - perhaps someone committed suicide for real as a result of her play-acting - the fact that she says on the tape that she is hoping that the exposure will give her career a boost shows the whole thing was about her ego
06:48 May 14, 2009 by Bee
throw the book ar her!
07:41 May 14, 2009 by Dazzler
...and this is why I detest modern day "artists".
09:34 May 14, 2009 by JethroGreenmantle
Wasn't the whole incident on the bridge filmed (by fellow students ?) I think I read it's on show at Konfack the graduation exhibition now. Anyone on Stockholm been to see it?

And, eZee, she did spend time 'for real' in a mental hospital a few years ago. The bridge incident is supposed to be a re-enacment of her original breakdown. And she's quoted in the article: "Closed psychiatric care is the most dictatorial part of society we have, ... it certainly needs to be, ... I have also been helped by it myself."
10:22 May 14, 2009 by Jasoncarter
I have a bit of an issue with the whole thing. I've bounced around on the fringes of the art scene in London and Stockholm. Conceptual artists are, in my experience, a bunch of 'look at me' attention seekers and more often than not twats and that's been borne out by the way she has handled the whole thing. She could have kept her head down, not spoken to every available news outlet and not allowed the controversy her work to dominate the end of year show (and overshadow the work of fellow students). But no, she was quite happy to talk to every single available media outlet and to publicise herself - going so far as to overtly say as much.

The work itself is of very little significance anyway and is more than a touch naive. Remember, this is only student work. Konstfack isn't really all that in terms of leading the global art world, and is more a very small club of stockholm based artists making art for themselves.

However, the media are also culpable in making an entire mountain range out of a molehill. This is a very very small story - student wastes police/hospital time. Happens all over the shop, every day of the week. It's not a lead story for 2 of the three news programmes I watched the other night, nor does it warrant 2 front page leads two days running in SVD. It's not that big a story, there's no real wider debate about 'how far can artists go?' to be had. The papers have been jumping on this as an excuse to run po-faced editorials and to show that they are Real Proper Serious Newspapers Grappling With The Big Questions and not at all shoddily written rags with substantially more advertising than content. Once again, it's just art students. It's not like there's a great big wave of situationist art that is threatening the status quo. Let them get on with it, slap her with a fine for wasting police time and just leave it alone.
10:35 May 14, 2009 by Inletwatcher
On the interest of art, my horrified daughter found this piece of art where this guy layed in a cold tub of water, and had his buddies place cement blocks on his chest until they seen the bubbles come out of his mouth and that "look" come about his eyes. They did revive him. He said beforehand that it was all in the interest of art.

Nor do I believe the school should be held accountable, unless the school told her to do it. Which I doubt. She should compensate for all the money spent, including those involved saleries for the hours involved with her stunt.
12:58 May 14, 2009 by Puffin
I beleive that she had her own hidden camera

She has spent time in psychaitric care - I read she is schizophrenic
13:01 May 14, 2009 by Puffin
Although she is 35 - so you'd have thought she had better judgement...
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