Marlon Miguel is Co-Principal Investigator at the project ‘Madness, Media, Milieus. Reconfiguring the Humanities in Postwar Europe at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar’. He holds a double PhD in Fine Arts (Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis) and Philosophy (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro). His PhD research focused on the work of Fernand Deligny and he is currently responsible for the organization and classification of Deligny’s archives stored at the Institut Mémoires de l’édition contemporaine (IMEC).

His most recent edition in this domain is Camering: Fernand Deligny on Cinema and the Image (2022).
His recent publications include ‘Mettre la vie en œuvre : autour de ‘La caméra outil pédagogique’”, in Fernand Deligny. Camérer. A propos d’images (2021); ‘Symbiose et bi-polarité: pour une pensée de l’impureté’, in Fernand Deligny et la philosophie. Un étrange objet (2021), ‘Representing the World, Weathering Its End. Arthur Bispo do Rosário’s Ecology of the Ship’ in Weathering: Ecologies of Exposure (2020); ‘Psychiatric Power Exclusion and Segregation in the Brazilian Mental Health System’ in Democracy and Brazil Collapse and Regression (2020).

Media, Milieus, and Clinical Practices: From Institutional Psychotherapy Towards Decolonial Psychiatry
Visiting Project 2022-23

This project looks at redefinition of the term ‘milieu’, its relation to media and artistic practices, and its effects on the discourses of social pedagogy, psychoanalysis, psychology, and psychiatry. It has as starting point the radical experience during the second world war of the psychiatric hospital of Saint-Alban, in France. What later would be named ‘Institutional Psychotherapy’ emerged out of these extreme circumstances. According to the French psychiatrist Georges Daumezon, the crucial transformation that took place was the displacement from the ‘I’ towards the ‘Us’, from the individual towards the collective. War demanded a new awareness and the building of networks of solidarity. The Catalan psychiatrist François Tosquelles, working at Saint-Alban after fleeing Spain, transforms clinical work and aims at reconnecting ‘madness’ to its social and political environment. Along with the French psychiatrist Lucien Bonnafé, he uses the term ‘geo-psychiatry’ in order to describe ‘migrant work’ of the patient’s disalienation outside the hospital.

The theme of disalienation will also be central to Frantz Fanon’s work. He, after working in Saint-Alban, leaves for Algeria and later for Tunisia, where he displaces the clinical principles of the institutional psychotherapy. What remains of clinical practices and theories in a colonial situation? This project inquiries in particular Fanon’s work at Blida-Joinville in the 1950s and that of the Brazilian psychiatrist Nise da Silveira, who developed an alternative reflection on the use of art with mental-ill patients and opened the Museum of Images from the Unconscious inside a psychiatric hospital in Rio de Janeiro.

Milieu, Antipsychiatry and Disorder: A Cartography of Radical Clinical Practices

Affiliated Project 2020-21

This project proposes to critically inquire the notion of ‘disorder’ and to de-essentialize it, looking at the use of artistic media in alternative radical psychiatric practices such as those of François Tosquelles, Fernand Deligny, Nise da Silveira, and Franco Basaglia. The latter, in particular, very influenced by Edmund’s Husserl phenomenology, proposes a ‘reduction’ of the concept of pathology in order to look at the subject´s singular and concrete experience of suffering, their current state experienced, rather than their ‘condition’. These authors also displace the treatment from the figure of the psychiatrist towards the action of the milieu itself.

Finally, they were realized through a multifaceted use of media and material practices of mediation. In collaboration with art critic Mário Pedrosa, Nise da Silveira insisted on the autonomy of form, paying close attention to the work of art, while simultaneously criticizing the rationality justifying the exclusion of the mentally ill. The ‘mad’ are seen neither outside modern art nor as a model of transgression, but, as Pedrosa puts it, ‘they see everything simultaneously from inside and from outside’. In a certain sense, da Silveira and Pedrosa anticipate Foucault’s well-known claim from The History of Madness that ‘there is no madness where there is work [of art]’.

Common Environments: Milieu and Umwelt in Alternative Clinical-Artistic Practices
ICI Project 2018-20

The current project examines how radically alternative clinical practices conceive healing as an intervention on the environment (milieu and Umwelt) rather than on the subject. The starting point of this project is the critical perspective of Fernand Deligny’s thinking and practice with young maladjusted adolescents and children with severe autism, as well as his relation to Antipsychiatry, ethology, and cartographic practices.

Deligny perceived the prevailing paradigm of inclusion, the basis of modern social and medical institutions, as a violent form of normalization that considers ‘abnormal’ subjects as ‘human capital’ to be turned into efficient workers. In opposition to this paradigm, Deligny considered social and clinical work as the creation of a favorable environment where ‘cases’ may evolve. Particularly through his work with autism, he developed an approach based on the experimental use of cameras, spatial installation, and cartography.