This program emerges out of the need to bring together ideas on the illnesses we suffer from, at a time when the welfare state has given way to a type of governance centered on the proliferation of new disorders, diseases, and medications. A possible strength: towards a “poietics” of living together brings together artists, theorists, and activists, in order to share experiences on a number of care networks, non-governmental and communal forms of organization, situated knowledge and ways of life that, after the anti-psychiatric movements of the 1970s, operate as an alternative to medical devices against unwellness, inasmuch as techniques for the repression of subjectivity, desires, and pleasures that do not adhere to what is considered normal. The known conditions of anxiety, stress, depression, panic, or attention deficit disorder, as well as the emergence of new illnesses such as fibromyalgia, or other forms of chronic exhaustion, are related, without a doubt, to phenomena such as the precariousness or absence of salaried work, in both psychological and physical aspects. As such, the success of drug treatments is measured by its coercive efficacy and by the empiric skill with which they transform the smallest somatization into a stable diagnosis table.
The growing critical attitude and a new way of understanding clinical practice make up two complementary forces that allow us to envision a therapeutic outlook from which to work on fears and challenges that stem from the need to live together, and that does not end at the medical model, nor at rehabilitating behavior, nor at integrating those who are different into the mode of existence that neo-liberalism considers desirable. It is not about breaking down personal suffering into mere biology, as part of neuroscience does, but rather about investigating political and social conditions that make torture, seclusion, and emotional isolation possible, more secret and commonplace everyday, almost trivial, and justified by medical reasons. In that sense, A possible strength: towards a “poietics” of living together seeks to free unwellness from being appropriated by medical science, and at the same time releasing the power of language and knowledge of the living body. In other words, it is so unwellness to not be the heartbreaking individual experience of the alienated, eccentric, and marginalized. Beginning with activities of varied formats (round table discussions, conferences, screenings, performances, and reading sessions), the program also wants the truth from every damaged body, its suffering, and the vulnerability it causes, to become visible to the public eye, as a personal and collective euphoria, to affect the largest number of people possible, until it becomes an experience that imagines new ways of living and negotiating, where every emotional crisis or catastrophe is always met with the creation of a new possible world, as suggested by Peter Pál Pelbart, with conditions conducive to subjective change.
This program is complemented by the A Possible Strength Reading group, that during June and July will work with texts related to the group’s principal theses.
Alfredo Aracil. Curator, arts manager, and researcher. He has collaborated with magazines such as Experimenta, LUMIÈRE and Nosotros. His research concentrates on the transformation of psychiatry in Spain at the end of the 1970s (doctoral thesis).
Franco Castignani.Political expert and independent researcher. His principal areas of interest analyze mutations in contemporary labor, new sensibilities, and the politicization of illness.
Valentina DesideriArtist, researcher, and writer residing in Amsterdam, where she has launched the performative practices Fake Therapy and Political Therapy, as well as co-organizing the Performing Arts Forum.
Manuel Desviat. Mental health professional, he has worked in clinics, organization and services management, teaching, and research. Author of books such as Cohabitar la diferencia: de la reforma psiquiátrica a la salud mental colectiva (Traficantes de sueños, Madrid, 2016).
FLIPAS/GAM. Mutual support group from Madrid that works for the understanding of mental health from a socio-political activism standpoint. They fight against label, social discrimination, manipulation, and violence.
Ainhoa Hernández Escudero and Andrea Rodrigo. Together they think about complicity devices and ways to produce knowledge and sensibility, taking an interest in artistic investigation, curation, and contemporary choreography. They are involved in contexts such as Performing Arts Forum (St. Erme, France). They have collaborated with Valentina Desideri on a piece undertaken along with Corazón del Sol for the exhibition Cale, cale, cale! Caale!!!, curated by Juan Canela in Tabakalera (Donostia).
Hierbabuena. Organization from Asturias made up of and for people who understand mental suffering. Since 2000 it works to spread and improve knowledge society has about these types of problems and experiences, free from discrimination and prejudice.
InsPiradas. Collective from Madrid with a relationship to exclusively feminist mental health. Based on first-person experiences to denounce a hetero-patriarchal capitalist system that harms mental health.
La Rara Troupe. Thought, reflection, and creation collective on mental health that emerged in 2012 out of the Department for Education and Cultural Action at the Museum of Contemporary Art in León (MUSAC). Composed of people diagnosed and undiagnosed, its action is based on using audiovisual creation from self-representation to first-person narration.
La Revolución Delirante. Critical movement made up of mental health professionals started in 2011 in Valladolid. It is principally directed at the new generations of professionals with three objectives: promote a broad, independent, and rigorous education of these professionals; understand the aid and position of these professionals in the context of the abandonment of the position of power and social control with which the “psi” disciplines were born; take these ideas to society to neutralize the social stigma associated with so-called mental illness. Communicate that mental illness is a way of being in the world that should be respected and as such, give the mentally ill back their status of citizen.
Santiago López-Petit. Chemist and philosopher, he is a follower of Foucault and Deleuze's French post-structuralism, and Toni Negri's Italian Marxism, among others. He has spurred on collective initiatives such as Dinero gratis and Espai en blanc, that bring together radical criticism with experimentaion. He has recently published Acaba de publicar El gesto absoluto. El caso pablo Molano. Una muerte política (Pepitas de Calabaza, Logroño, 2018).
Peter Pál Pelbart. Philosopher, essayist, and professor at the PUC-SP (Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo). He is the author of Filosofía de la deserción (Tinta Limón, 2009), the notebook “Carta aberta aos secundaristas” in Caixa Pandemia de Cordéis (n-1 Edicões, São Paulo, 2016), and Cartography of Exhaustion: Nihilism inside out (Univocal, Minneapolis, 2015).
Florencia Rodríguez Giles. Artist specializing in painting and performance. Her research has for many years examined the different states of matter and of the psyche. María Ruido. Visual artist, researcher, and cultural producer. She develops interdisciplinary projects on stereotypes in labor in post-Fordist capitalism and on the construction of memory and its relation with narrative forms of history.
Liv Schulman. Artist and writer. She has coordinated and directed performative practice series related to writing, such as Triple Frontera, and the publication of the art and poetry fanzine Pobre, Feo, and Elegant. She writes in different platforms such as Emargé, Allotrope, and Artists talking.