Radical Therapies is a research and experimental film project, bringing together an anthropologist (William Mazzarella), philosopher (Aaron Schuster) and artist (Imogen Stidworthy) to investigate questions of therapy today. In a context of global crises on many fronts—covid, climate, racism, energy, economy, Ukraine—this collaborative team sees a widespread preoccupation with trauma and healing.
Radical Therapies is a research and experimental film project, bringing together an anthropologist, philosopher and artist to investigate questions of therapy today. In a context of global crises on many fronts—covid, climate, racism, energy, economy, Ukraine—this collaborative team sees a widespread preoccupation with trauma and healing. It comes amid a slow sea-change in popular attitudes to therapy, with an exponential growth in people turning to different forms of wellness and care, and clinical research into once marginal therapeutic practices. In academia and the arts, projects about trauma and care proliferate. This fellowship will work with a small number of therapeutic practices in terms of how they conceive and shape interpersonal dynamics, in and beyond self-other, subject-object relations, and especially how they challenge notions of therapy, care and cure themselves.
A key issue that motivates this project is working in and through the tensions between fieldwork, theoretical work, clinical work, and artistic work. These keep raising questions of what Freud called transference, the unconscious entanglements and resonances between agents in a situation, particularly when one of them is meant to be in some way above, outside of, or professionally insulated from the situation in question. We have very different backgrounds, experience and criteria when it comes to these areas, and this is one of the main reasons for our collaboration.
Aaron Schuster is a philosopher and writer, based in Amsterdam. His research focuses on continental philosophy and psychoanalysis, and he has written on such topics as breakups, the philosophy of tickling, the history of levitation, Kafka’s philosopher dog, the comedy of Lubitsch, the theatre of Genet, Kollontai’s Bolshevik feminism, anti-sexuality, and complaining. He has also worked as a writer and dramaturge with artists on a number of projects, including a performance piece with Mario Garcia Torres (I Am Not a Flopper by Allen Smithee), an opera libretto with Raimundas Malašauskas and Loris Gréaud (Cellar Door), a film with Alexis Destoop (Kairos), and two dance pieces choreographed by Daniel Linehan (Gaze is a Gap is a Ghost, Karaoke Dialogues). He is the author of The Trouble with Pleasure: Deleuze and Psychoanalysis (MIT, 2016), and co-author of Sovereignty, Inc.: Three Inquiries in Politics and Enjoyment (Chicago, 2020). His book How to Research Like a Dog: Kafka’s New Science will be published by MIT Press in 2023. He was a fellow at the Franke Institute for the Humanities, University of Chicago, in 2016, and at the Society for the Humanities, Cornell University, 2018-2019. From 2019 till February 2022, he worked as the senior research advisor at the VAC Foundation/GES-2 in Moscow.
William Mazzarella is Neukom Family Professor of Anthropology and Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. He writes on the political anthropology of mass publicity, critical theory, affect and aesthetics, psychoanalysis, ritual and performance, and the occult shadow of the modern. His most recent research involves the subject of charisma, and the use of psychoanalysis and the figure of the analyst for thinking politics. His books include Shoveling Smoke: Advertising and Globalization in Contemporary India (Duke, 2003), Censorium: Cinema and the Open Edge of Mass Publicity (Duke, 2013), and The Mana of Mass Society (Chicago, 2017), and he is the co-author of Sovereignty, Inc: Three Inquiries in Politics and Enjoyment (Chicago, 2020). He is also the co-editor, with Raminder Kaur, of Censorship in South Asia: Cultural Regulation from Sedition to Seduction (Indiana, 2009), and the editor of K D Katrak, Collected Poems(Poetrywala, 2016).
Imogen Stidworthy is an artist, based in Liverpool (UK). Her work engages with different forms of voicing and sense-making, which emerge in spaces between languages—when verbal language is unstable or fails, in cases, for example, of aphasia, trauma, or linguistic or cultural difference. She received her PhD from Lund University, Malmö Art Academy in 2020, with her dissertation Voicing on the Borders of Language, which focuses on the relationship between verbal and non-verbal modes of being, in the context of non-verbal autism. Her work has been exhibited in major exhibitions, including Survival Kit 11, LCCA, Riga (2020), Bergen Assembly (2019, 2013), Suzhou Biennial (2016), Sao Paulo Biennial (2014), Busan Biennial (2012), and Documenta 12, Kassel, DE (2007). Her solo shows include Museum Dr Guislain, Gent, BE (2022), Netwerk, Aalst, BE (2019), Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, DE (2018), Imperial War Museum, London (2015), AKINCI, Amsterdam (2013, 2009, 2005), and Matts Gallery London (2011, 2003). She curated two related group exhibitions at the Tapies Foundation, Barcelona (2012) and Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, (MuKHA, 2008).
Image: still from Iris [A Fragment] (2018).
With Iris Johansson, Shaden Mohamed Nagy and Ramy Nagy Elafify
Camera Emma Dalesman & Imogen Stidworthy
Sound Imogen Stidworthy