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Saturday, 22 July 2017 11:39


ON EXILE, fragments in search of a meaning



“ON EXILE, fragments in search of a meaning” is a video-essay that looks at the phenomenon of depression as a process of radical otherness, estrangement and exile from oneself. As an audiovisual anthropology of mental illness, this project is concerned with exploring human vulnerability, and the multiple identities that inhabit and haunt us. Ten people willingly share their own stories and feelings on depression, their darkest moments and the ways they cope with it. Through a documentary approach, psychological portraits are created, reinforced by a second moment where each one of the interviewees enters a cathartic journey, by listening to a song they previously chose. Participatory in nature, this piece allows for the unexpected, since it frames the encounter but does not prescribe absolute answers or gestures. Although isolated from each other, the participants compose a polyphony of struggle, suffering, and ultimate hope. It is in a metaphorical state of exile from the land of normalcy and happiness (as social and personal construct), that the depressed individual perceives himself/herself – and it is to that idealized place that he/she ultimately desires to return.
The work’s referent is the unimaginable pain that constitutes the experience of severe depression, a dimension that resists definition. Excluded from the visible world, banned from conversation, there is substantial misunderstanding and stigma around the disease. Moreover, there seems to be a deficit in its representation. How to represent, then? “On Exile” is inevitably an imperfect attempt to capture such experience, and an opportunity for exercising empathy. What is at stake in working with these individuals is the opening up of a space where mental illness is not expelled from visual and discursive practices, contemporary art discourse, or hidden in political correctness. This project is not only a personal account of one’s afflictions... Depression is an immense public health problem, and its costs can be hardly measured. Political in its scope, the video sheds light on a major condition affecting millions of lives and communities, while also impacting the social, economic and institutional fabric of our societies.


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Last Updated on Monday, 24 July 2017 11:47










   josé carlos teixeira