Tosquelles. The institution healed. Texts, images and testimonies
Seminar with Martine Deyres, Sophie Legrain, Joana Massó, Jean-Claude Polack, Alejandra Riera, Camille Robcis.
The figure of Francesc Tosquelles (1912–1994) gains more relevance and urgency by the day. His contributions in the field of mental health position him at the forefront of institutional psychotherapy, a reformulation that took shape during the post-war period and that ended up assimilating the therapeutic institution within the fields of political and cultural action. His innovations, however, have their roots in the intellectual and revolutionary ferment that Tosquelles experienced in Catalonia before the Civil War. The efforts to give continuity to the medical investigations begunat the Institut Pere Mata in Reus, and subsequentl in the contexts of the Republican frontline and the concentration camps in the south of France, would explode in Saint-Alban, the asylum where he undertook the most ambitious institutional reforms of the 1940s.
The echo of his contributions has been discontinuous. At present, Tosquelles’ ideas constitute an extraordinary body of texts and testimonies, although scattered and lacking a critical overview to do them justice. Therefore, approaching Tosquelles means reconstructing one of the most fascinating intellectual itineraries of the twentieth century. A path that takes us from the radical climate before the Civil War to the molecular revolutions that in the 1960s placed the formation and control of subjectivity at the centre of all imaginable politics. Today’s perspective lends an even greater historical weight to the contingencies that surrounded his work, often performed under conditions that lost sight of humanity.
Nevertheless, Tosquelles puts a name to a forgotten legacy that today is activated through cultural militancy. Rather than merely thinking about it, it is a matter of incorporating his legacy into the tools of institutional critique, both with regard to institutions that deal withmental health and those that seem, at first sight, to be exclusively cultural. Tosquelles is at the centre of a constellation of references that includes names as diverse as Gérard de Nerval, Gabriel Ferrater, Frantz Fanon, Jacques Lacan, Félix Guattari and Jean Oury; references that go from modern literature to the first formulations of the theories of decolonisation and reach fruition with the clinical practices that were associated with the reforms of institutional psychotherapy.
Therefore, far from systematising the complexity embodied by Tosquelles, this project lays the foundations of a translation, both in the literal sense of making accessible the texts and materials that have received only limited circulation, and in the sense of constituting and giving form to a figure outside all cultural and scientific canons.
This seminar, made possible by the support of the European project 4Cs: From Conflict to Conviviality through Creativity and Culture, is the first in a series of public presentations that aspire to recreate the network that today keeps the legacy of Tosquelles alive in diverse fields and disciplines. Likewise, the seminar initiates a wider scope of research led by the Universitat de Barcelona and the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, with the financial support of the Fundació Mir-Puig.
Date: 25-26 April 2018, 8 p.m. | Free admission. | Limited places
Wednesday, 25 April, 2018.
18:00 h. Presentation of the seminar
18:15 h. Camille Robcis. Disalienation: politics, philosophy, and radical psychiatry in France.
19:00 h. Sophie Legrain. The style and the method.
19:45 h. Alejandra Riera and Joana Masó. ‘L’école de la liberté.’
Thursday, 26 April, 2018.
18:00 h. Martine Deyres. Around the film archive of the Saint-Alban Hospital, a film in progress.
18:45 h. Christophe Boulanger. To invent a place of creation, on the Saint-Alban experience.
19:30 h. Jean-Claude Polack. Nobody is a prophet in their own land.