Dr. Elena Vogman | Freigeist-Fellowship of the VolkswagenStiftung

Madness, Media, Milieus. Reconfiguring the Humanities in Postwar Europe

Monoblet, November 1976. Background Map and Tracing. In: Fernand Deligny, L'arachneen et autres textes.
Blida, 1953-1956. Frantz Fanon with the Medical Team.

Media form and transform our milieus, from geopolitical landscapes to our most intimate environs.

This project studies a series of media and milieu practices developed in different settings of Institutional Psychotherapy since the 1940s. It examines efforts to produce environments, institutions, and milieus that would facilitate processes of psychological therapy and healing, in particular by psychiatrists and activists such as François Tosquelles, Gisela Pankow, Jean Oury, Anne Querrien, Ginette Michaud, Fernand Deligny, Frantz Fanon and Félix Guattari. 

Drawing on newly discovered archives, the project explores the fundamental role of art and media which crucially contributed to the emergence of psychiatric milieus. At the same time, it investigates the productive repercussions of these media-milieu practices in critical humanities discourses.

The project argues that these practices had a crucial impact on the humanities in postwar Europe, in particular post-structuralism and post-colonial studies, but also media theory, film studies, and science and technology studies. Media mold and modify milieus: This is the general hypothesis that will be reflected in four individual sub-projects carried out by historians of art, science, and technology, culminating in a joint exhibit presenting largely unseen images, texts and films.