The Normalcy Project

22.4 2014


22 April 2014
The Cinema, Moderna Museet
Admission free

15.30-18.00 Film programme: The Deviant Majority and All Divided Selves

18.30-19.30 Talk about Mike Kelley: Magnus af Petersens, curator Moderna Museet, and Anne Pontégnie, curator.

At 15.30
The Deviant Majority, 2010
By Dora García
34 minutes

In The Deviant Majority, Dora García addresses revolutionary reforms in psychiatry that grew out of the political revolts of the late 1960s, and alternative treatment programs practiced today. The piece is structured around three meetings: with the theater company Accademia della Follia (Academy of Madness) of the Psychiatric Hospital of Trieste, comprised of both patients and healthcare workers; Rio de Janeiro’s Teatro do oprimido (Theater of the Oppressed); and activist Carmen Roll, former member of the German SPK Sozialistisches Patientenkollektiv (Socialist Patients’ Collective). In an interview, Roll expounds on the SPK’s antagonism toward asylums in the early 1970s, rooted in the group’s belief that the social relations initiated by capitalism were responsible for physical manifestations of madness. The contemporary theater programs use creative expression as therapy and revise divisions between normality and abnormality, attempting to erase the prejudice and social exclusion associated with mental illness.

At 16.15
All Divided Selves, 2011
By Luke Fowler
93 minutes

The social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s were headed by the charismatic, guru-like figure of Scottish Psychiatrist R. D. Laing. In his now classic text “The Politics of Experience” (1967) Laing argued that normality entailed adjusting ourselves to the mystification of an alienating and depersonalizing world. Those society labels as “mentally ill” are in fact “hyper-sane” travellers, conducting an inner voyage. The film concentrates on archival representations of Laing and his colleagues as they struggled to acknowledge the importance of considering social environment and disturbed interaction in institutions as significant factors in the aetiology of human distress and suffering. All Divided Selves reprises the vacillating responses to these radical views and the less forgiving responses to Laing’s latter career shift; from eminent psychiatrist to enterprising celebrity. Fowler weaves archival material with his own filmic observations with a soundtrack by Eric La Casa, Jean-Luc Guionnet and Alasdair Roberts.

The film screening is a part of the exhibition Outside curated by Stefanie Hessler at Index – The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation and of Normalcy at the Royal Institute of Art.