The collection of outsider art at the Dr Guislain Museum consists of several sub-collections. Apart from our own permanent collection there are a number of collections on long-term loan. In 2002 the collection was vastly expanded with the internationally renowned top collection of Collectie De Stadshof. The latter comprises more than 6,000 works – from naive art to art brut – by almost 400 outsider artists. There are also long-term loans and donations from, among others, Willem van Genk Foundation, Studio La Pommeraie, Monera Foundation Gemert, Guus Maris, Piet Slijkerman and Otto Prinsen.
In 2014, in the midst of a lasting period where institutions seem to have become ever more alienated from each other in the effort of scientifically proving the success of their services, DON’T EAT THE MICROPHONE starts. An artist, a ex-car-mechanic, a geologist and a psychoanalyst joined forces to create a space for gathering where neurotics and psychotics could spend time together beyond the paradigm therapist-patient.
DON'T EAT THE MICROPHONE is a practice, a dispositive and a machine where voicing is in a constant process of emergence and dissolution. We meet in a garden. We meet in a particular garden. If it's sunny we find rest in the shade of the trees or lay in the sun. If rain is coming we hide the wires and avoid electrocution. Either way we settle there, in the garden of the psychiatric hospital Dr. Guislain. And who are we? And are we? And we are. And. Who? We are microphones, wires, coffee, birds, vinyls, cigarettes, tunes, keyboards, sometimes a dog, voice-effects, patients, trees, text, outsiders, wind, artist, therapist, dust, a rusty guitar, psychotics, wanderers, neurotics, non-sense, acceleration, plastic, pause, echoes, interruptions, overlaps... We are a bunch played by different voices.
The invitation is to meet and share time outside of our private echo chambers. Every week we meet and create a space in a space outside. People are welcome to come and go, enter and exit the sessions. Once inside, one can enter a mode of listening and enunciation. Enunciation is understood here as the passage from language to speech, as the appropriation of language by an individual act. It’s the mediation between language and speech.
When desire is triggered, as we hunt the cadence of collective enunciation, a certain kind of attention is evoked. It's not the hunter with guns chasing its prey with barking dogs, but rather the hunter who listens to the movements of what s_he wants to catch and silently positions her_himself in the place of what s_he hears.
This cadence of collective enunciation is a pace, a movement of searching, finding and losing a harmonious tone.
The invitation is to let oneself be driven by the outside of a familiar language. To stretch the measurements and agreements of one’s behaviour and speech in the contact with others. And bring people from different contexts together. During the sessions one might realise that outside her_his own language there is a mumbling field of others.
For this year's edition DON'T EAT THE MICROPHONE uses the format of a podcast radio channel. There is no show or linear program. The channel transmits a sound-scape. A situation. An atmosphere. It transmits what happens in the garden to different spaces. It transmits voices — not only as a force emanating from the body but as well a force that reaches out to affect other bodies and spaces.
Visitors of the Museum Dr. Guislain or passersby, might be affected by the voices of those in the garden. But such soundscapes can also be heard now inside the permanent exhibition The History of Psychiatry. Between the psychiatric and the artistic, the private and the public territories, the sound of our sessions attempts to occupy the role of a transitional space among different institutions.
You are welcome to join us in the garden every Wednesday between 14h and 17h until the 7th of September or to visit the permanent exhibition where you can hear us!
With the support of Vooruit, Psychiatric Centre Dr. Guislain and Dr. Guislain Museum .
Until the beginning of November there will be repair and renovation works on tramways 1 and 4. On Line 1 (the tram to the Dr. Guislain Museum) there is no traffic between Korenmarkt and Gravensteen. This part can only be reached on foot.
Where lies the boundary between fantasy and reality? How can we distinguish dream from delirium, illusion from wish, hallucination from discernment? How can we explore or imagine what takes place elsewhere? The exhibition covers two centuries, starting from the many questions concerning psychosis, hallucination and illusion. Not to give a classic historic account, but to elucidate five unique oeuvres from this period that balance between art, knowledge and science. J.J. Grandville, Gustav Mesmer, Gerard Heymans, Jean Perdrizet and Mathew Kneebone each created or mapped out a different universe, thus trying to grasp the ungraspable in their own way. These are worlds in which pencils walk, bicycles float, the distance between two parallel lines is variable, typewriters are in contact with the deceased and street lamps stop shining when you walk past them. A Different World creates passages: from this one to the other, between the other worlds among themselves, and perhaps also from the other world back to this one.
What is the extraction of the stone of madness? How do shamans expel evil spirits? What was the effect of the ‘rotation therapy’, invented by Belgian’s first psychiatrist Joseph Guislain? What objects protect us from disease and madness? What does present-day psychiatry look like?
In the course of history people have dealt with madness through a mixture of magic and religion, coercion and care, supervision and science. The unreasonable have been punished, anointed, cared for and cured.
The history of mental health care has known a good deal of desperation, malpractices and sometimes unjustified euphoria. The mental patient confronts us with questions that are hardly answerable and problems that are anything but easy to solve. How do we deal with those who are different? How do we deal with that which is different in ourselves?
The permanent exhibition on the history of psychiatry also pays attention to madness in other cultures and to contemporary questions, problems and ideas. By presenting the terms ‘madness’ and ‘mental illness’ in their historical and cultural contexts, the Museum Dr. Guislain wants to challenge the line between ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’.