Hansen House, Jerusalem
August 7 - October 12, 2017
Hansen House, known as the “Lepers House”, was established in 1887 as a hospital to treat the Hansen’s disease, an infection that was called leprosy, even though it was different than the Biblical disease.
Hilla Ben Ari
Sala-Manca Group and Itamar Mendes-Flohr
Over the years, the common belief that leprosy is contagious spurred urban legends, thus, for over a century the hospital and its surrounding garden remained threatening and enigmatic to the city’s residents. The hospital was mostly run as an autarkic economy, aspiring for self-sustaining agriculture in the garden.
In 1952, it became a government hospital and was named after Gerhard Armauer Hansen who discovered the bacterium that causes the disease. In 2009, the state decided to transfer the Hansen House to the Jerusalem Development Authority, part of the Jerusalem Municipality, to rehabilitate and preserve the site.
The exhibition Gomlei DATA was inspired by the history of Hansen House as a phantasmagoric enclave in the Jerusalem area and the story Forever by Shmuel Yosef Agnon. The Lepers House was considered an alluring and frightening place in the Jerusalem consciousness, influenced by folkloristic stories of horror and stigma.