Ink on paper in A5 sketch book. 2003
The book of madness is a book with sentences from Reich’s book The Mass Psychology of Fascism. It starts with one sentence on the first page: “There is not a single individual who does not bear the elements of fascist feeling and thinking in his structure…” The sentence gets repeated on all the pages until the end, but on each new page a new sentence from the book is added, which then is also repeated on each page until the end. The sentences accumulate and the end result is a black unintelligible tangle. The structure of the book is inspired by the type of writing that some people who suffer mental illness do.
When I started exploring propaganda in democratic societies I was astonished by the amount of manipulated information that is presented to us as objective and truthful by institutions and the media. But when I shared my discoveries with people around me, I realised that most didn’t seem to care. I couldn’t believe that people didn’t care that they were being lied to so blatantly. It felt like some form of collective madness. So I decided to express my incredulity as a mad woman might do. For inspiration I had a look at the Prinzhorn Collection, an art collection by patients in psychiatric hospitals collected in the 1920s.
Other work inspired by propaganda:
- Propaganda, a visual exploration of psychological warfare.
- You, fascist (or the holy trinity of manipulation). On how religion, institutions and the repression of sexuality create people who are easy to manipulate.
- Essence Existence. About how Aristotle’s ideas would have been lost without Arabic translations.
My interest in propaganda started with Consumerism as a diversion from politics. On how Bernays, Freud’s nephew, invented marketing as a reaction to fascism.