DSM Re- Revised and other related texts


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DSM Re- Revised and other related texts
Artist Statement
Pierre Leichner

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association is a categorical classification system of mental disorders, which has been growing in size and usage since the 1970’s. DSM’s are insidiously becoming instruments of control and definition of human behaviors globally. They define treatment development and availability in many countries. There is no significant alternative (evidence based) system for the definition mental disorders in North America.
This body of work is not anti-DSM, anti–psychiatry, anti-diagnosis or anti–pharmacotherapy. It is not against books per se as instruments for the dissemination and control of knowledge. But it is against the unquestioned, unbalanced use of any mode of interventions by health care providers and their blind acceptance by their clients. It is against any theories or treatment approaches that diminish the importance of the unquantifiable humanness necessary in health care. It is against providing health care as a for profit business. This work is about questioning “power relations in a given society, their historical formation, their source of strength and their fragility, the conditions that are necessary to transform some and abolish others.” (Foucault) It is about recognizing text as a continuously changing construction with personal, cultural, political and spiritual associations.
To explore a subject I like to use a variety of strategies to gain a better understanding. This often involves drawing on our visual, tactile, auditory and when appropriate gustatory senses. I also like to have viewer participation when possible.
In this body of work I have altered used DSM’s, DSM Training Guides, DSM Case Books and Compendiums of Pharmaceutical Specialties (CPS). Many of these books now contain the shape of landscapes sculpted by time or by men. The process was documented and the finds photographed. The materials for the excavations were recycled into associated objects. DSM Fortune Cookies and DSM training dogs bring some humor and viewer involvement.

November, 2010