Spellbound #2 | Psychotic Transmission 1

Monday, 21 January 2019, 7.30 pm, diffrakt | centre for theoretical periphery

Film screening with
Nadine Hartmann | Clio Nicastro | Hannah Proctor

“Needless to say, no one who shares a delusion recognizes it as such.”
Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents

Freud famously identified the central mechanism of religion as that of a “shared delusion.” But what is the actual clinical implication of such a concept? How can the boundary between “health” and “disease” be maintained in places where people suffering from schizophrenia, paranoia, and delusion outnumber the “normals”? We will watch a film that surrenders to the contagious potential of madness in a highly stylized albeit not entirely unrealistic manner.

Spellbound: Mass Hysteria, Collective Symptoms, Contagious States

Series organised by
Nadine Hartmann | Clio Nicastro | Hannah Proctor

This event series explores experiences of collective mental contagion. Probing the boundaries between the psychic and the physiological, the natural and the supernatural, the social and the spiritual, the events will focus on often mysterious mass psychic phenomena such as hypnosis, fainting fits, possession, the ‘mimetic’ dimension of hysteria and eating disorders, the regimentation of gesture and trances. How do certain kinds of collective behaviours or experiences take hold and spread among groups? Do conditions with no clear biological origin have their roots in society? What do mass symptoms express?

Spellbound will take the form of events in thematic pairs: a screening night followed by a reading and discussion night. Although the two nights in each pair will be conceptually linked they also function as stand alone events.