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mistral amsterdam

2022 exhibition & screening

Stephan Blumenschein

Still, moving walls

13 December – 23 December 2022  1, 2, 3

In its final chapter, emerging from hibernation, mistral presents Stephan Blumenschein's research on the origin story of panic disorder at Hillside Hospital, New York (1959–62). The presentation at mistral is a constellation of moments from the material the artist collected from different archives and semi-official visits to the hospital's premises.

Pursuing a new methodology termed “pharmacological dissection” that defines similar disorders according to their different responses to a drug, the not yet well researched Imipramine was given to a varied group of patients at Hillside during 1959–62. The hallway on the ground floor of the Morris Lowenstein Pavilion served as the architectural backdrop for one nurse's observation of the change in behavior of a patient following the intake of the drug. The nurse, who's name the artist was unable to find despite intensive research in the archives, had noticed that the patient had stopped running from his room in agony, down the hallway, and to the nursing station even though he still described having constant anxiety. Her observation led to the distinction between panic attack and the fear of having (another) one. This distinction, which disaggregates the previously unitary affect of anxiety, is a cornerstone of what would become the medical category of panic disorder.

Attentive to the hallway as a negative space that appeared the moment the patient's movement was removed, and subsequently rendering visible a new medical category – all observed and enabled by a nurse, who's identity remains unknown – Stephan Blumenschein explores processes of (dis)appearance, withdrawal, and traces of (in)visibilities surrounding (the origin tale of) panic disorder as a medical category.

Inspired by Felicity Callard's “The Intimate Geographies of Panic Disorder”, 2016.

vernissage + screening

13 December 18–21hr, screening at 19:30

Writer and organizer Janine Armin programs a 25 minute screening of works by Felicia Broberg von Zweigbergk (Manic Depression,2019), Yashaswini Raghunandan & Arianna Zuanazzi (I Invite You,2021), and Milena Bonilla (The Last Drink Is for the Sun, (Premiere!) 2022) on the absence of the subject in institutional architecture, the female register, panic and distancing from panic, and the politics within medicinal healing. Broberg von Zweigbergk's silent karaoke video of Jimi Hendrix's "Manic Depression" precedes a short film on the disruption of language and neuroimaging in healing by Raghunandan & Zuanazzi. We close with a premiere by Bonilla, whose films are often informed by plant life and political figures, and here focuses on the tropical greenhouse as a site of control, delving into peyote and Antonin Artaud's confrontation with it in the Sierra Madre.

“It is in large part according to the sounds people make that we judge them sane or insane, male or female, good, evil, trustworthy, depressive, marriageable, moribund, likely or unlikely to make war on us, little better than animals, inspired by God. These judgements happen fast and can be brutal. ... in [Aristophanes'] Ekklesiazousai ... feminist leader Praxagora reassures her fellow female activists that they have precisely the right kind of voices.”

– Anne Carson, "Gendered Sound", 1992


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Pakhuis Wilhelmina
Groenhoedenveem 2
entrance round the corner at veemkade
1019 BL Amsterdam
The Netherlands

mistral amsterdam