“ In increasing the generality of the already large group of devices described by Foucault, I call device all that has in one way or the other the capacity to capture, orientate, determine, intercept, model, control and insure the actions, conduct, opinions and discourse of living beings.”
Giorgio Agamben 2007
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual published by the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV-TR) is a categorical and rigid classification system that was created by researchers in the United States. North American clinicians due to their need to legitimize psychiatry as a medical science adopted it. Today this system is being globalized. This bridge that was established between clinicians and researchers has become more of a one-way road and has been seized by corporative administrators. Clinicians behave more and more like researchers and employees while patients are more and more seen as economic commodities.
In this climate this work was first installed at the 3-bisf, an art center in a psychiatric hospital in Aix en Provence in France. Since 1984, it is a place where artists, patients and the public participate in workshops and shows in an egalitarian and voluntary manner. Similar to Gallery Gachet in Vancouver, it aims at challenging stigmatization and the labels attached to the mentally ill and artists.
In that setting, I scratched and dug out some of the contents of the DSM-IV-TR with a spoon I sharpened. I chewed and spit out its contents and reconstituted it in the shape of a book. Photographs were taken during the process and the scratching sound was captured. The pieces were installed in the office of a mental health care professional.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM IV TR) Dug out
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM IV TR) reconstituted
4 digital prints: 279 x 420 mm