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A Possible Strength: Towards a Poietics of Living Together

Reading group

11, 20, 27 June, 4 July 2018 - 5pm to 9pm (check program) / Nouvel Building, Floor 5, Study Center

Ajoblanco nº5. Extra Antipsiquiatría. Hacia la salud mental (Ajoblanco nº5. Extra Anti-psychiatry. Towards mental health), 1978. Images cortesy of Ajoblanco
Ajoblanco nº5. Extra Antipsiquiatría. Hacia la salud mental (Ajoblanco nº5. Extra Anti-psychiatry. Towards mental health), 1978. Images cortesy of Ajoblanco

In the world today, madness is undoubtedly present: one either forms part of it or trivializes what a panic attack or depression can be. Unwellness seems to be reduced to a private and personal matter, as if it was possible to simply decide to suffer and not stay in line with the arbitrary notion of what is normal. In addition, attention is diverted away from the political implications of a series of disorders typical of our age, and that, rooted in the precarious conditions of our current lives, turns our existence into an anxious one, with constant stress and a threat of never-ending suffering.

As part of the A Possible Strength: Towards a Poietics of Living Together activities program, this reading group and collective reflection emerge with the goal of revisiting a past that reverberates in the present: from Jacques Lacan and his intuition on illness capitalism, language, and bodies, to the developments and possibilities of being-another, touching on alternative psychiatry, communal experiences, reforms to the assistance to the ill since the 1970s, and finally the current intersection of biology and neo-liberalism, in the twilight of the welfare state, where pain and death are become primordial vectors in new bio-political reasoning.

The proposed series of texts and films seeks to delve into possibilities opened up decades ago by a number of militant-researchers that worked, not only on language and images, but also on the body. On sharing certain physical and psychological symptoms, they were able to show that  they are also common. As such, the group looks not only to find discursive negotiation, but also to address different practices, geared towards an exercise in enunciation that imagines new forms of insurrection and revolt.

This workshop is directed to professionals or users of mental health, to interested and affected persons, diagnosed and non-diagnosed, and at those interested in this way of managing this experience.


Participants

Amador Fernández Savater. Independent researcher and political and cultural activist. He also is editor of Acuarela Libros and habitual collaborator with eldiario.es. He has recently published, among others, the Yippie! titles Una pasada de revolución (2015) and Fuera de lugar: Conversaciones entre crisis y transformación (2013).

Guillermo Rendueles. Psychiatrist and essay writer. His works are centered on orthodox psychiatry criticism, social theory, and radical politics. Among his most recent publications are El manuscrito encontrado en Ciempozuelos: análisis de la historia clínica de Aurora Rodríguez (2018) and Las falsas promesas psiquiátricas (2017).

Franco Castignani. Political scientist and independent researcher. His principal areas of interest analyze mutations in contemporary labor, new sensitivities, and the politicization of unwellness.

La Rara Troupe. Thought, reflective, and creative collective dealing with mental health since 2012 in the Department of Education and Cultural Action at the Museum of Contemporary Art of León (MUSAC). Composed of persons diagnosed and non-diagnosed with mental health related illnesses, their activity is based on using audiovisual creation in auto-representation and first-person narration.

Montserrat Rodríguez Garzo. Psychoanalyst, researcher, and exhibition curator. She is co-author of numerous volumes, including the catalog for the Apuntes para una psiquiatría destructiva (Sala de Arte Joven de la Comunidad de Madrid, 2017) exhibition, co-written with Alfredo Aracil, and the book Esquizofrenias y otros hechos de lenguaje. De la clínica analítica del MACBA (2015), with Darío Corbeira.

 

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Program

Monday, 11 June – from 5pm to 9pm

Session 1. The Society of Stress

Accompanied by Amador Fernández Savater

Reading:
Suely Rolnik, “¿Una nueva suavidad?”, in Félix Guattari; and Suely Rolnik, Micro política. Cartografías del deseo, Madrid, Traficantes de Sueños, 2006

There are more and more bodies that, to different degrees, feel the obligations that are a by-product of living as a force that carries on its shoulders a constant state of unease. Anxiety, stress, exhaustion, and fatigue are words chosen by some theorists to describe the mutations of a society that distances itself farther from well-being with every crisis, while forms of contemporary production and reproduction demand more docile and precarious bodies.

Wednesday, 20 June – from 5pm to 9pm

Session 2. Début d'une lutte prolongée...

Accompanied by Guillermo Rendueles

Readings:
Félix Guattari, “Anti-psiquiatría y anti-psicología” and “El circuito alternativo de la psiquiatría”, from La revolución molecular, Madrid, Errata naturae editores, 2017

Film:
Peter Robinson, Asylum, USA, 1972, about Dr. Laing's Archway Community (96’)

This session seeks to analyze current illnesses beginning with the revision of a series of experiences that imagined an alternative future in the 1970s: Franco Basaglia's position in favor of socialized care, the ennobled marginalization of the Socialist Collective of Patients (SPK) in Heidelberg, the right to be mentally ill demanded at La Borde or in the sit-ins and strikes held by anti-Francoist psychiatrists. All these experiences, through different means, insist on the need to reflect on the relationship between clinics and politics, not as a dimension of personal life, but rather as the effect of certain social phenomena that stem from modes of production and domination.

Wednesday, 27 June - from 5pm to 9pm

Session 3. Other-transformation

Accompanied by Franco Castignani and La Rara Troupe

Readings:
Félix Guattari, “Devenir niño, devenir maleante” and “Devenir mujer”, from La revolución molecular, Madrid, Errata naturae editores, 2017
Fernand Deligny,Semilla de crápula,Buenos Aires, Editorial Cactus and Tinta Limón Ediciones, October 2017

Film:
Fernand Deligny, Josée Manenti and Jean-Pierre Daniel, Le moindre geste, France, 1971 (101’)

The pragmatic essays of Fernand Deligny and the collaboration between Félix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze (in their work Capitalismo y esquizofrenia) on how subjectification must transcend individual limits, sketch a singular and at the same time multiple way of being. It concerns pragmatics and a new epistemology that go beyond schizophrenia as a limit of capitalism, as demonstrated in the program of recent feminist struggles and in the work of different collectives that, bringing together people diagnosed and non-diagnosed, explores sensitivity and daily life as the center of the political sphere. Part of the session will take place in Dora García's Second Time Around exhibition hall.

Wednesday, 4 July – from 4pm to 7pm

Session 4. Exile

Accompanied by Montserrat Rodríguez Garzo

Readings:
Jacques Lacan, Seminario 7. La ética del psicoanálisis, Buenos Aires, Paidós, 1988

Film:
Horacio Valcárcel, Psiquiatría social, Spain 1970 (11’)

This session investigates exile as a place in the world basing it on the paths of two conflictive exiles, through Jacques Lacan, François Tosquelles, and Oscar Masotta. Using this focus as a foundation one can consider exile as a necessary way of being, and from where one can confront the primary deprivation borne out of the separation from one's roots. At the same time, and using it as an example, it is possible to come to terms with ostracism as one's own style, as an expression of individuality.