Crisis: The Psychic Life of Drawings
Since the beginning of 2015, an unprecedented number of people from Middle Eastern and African countries have been crossing borders into and within Europe from the Mediterranean, the Balkans, through the English Channel, and other entry points throughout Europe. This time has been described by the media and various political actors as an ’emergency’ and a ‘crisis’ that challenges the very core of European values and human rights principles. Calling this time an emergency implies responding to it, on the one hand, with humanitarian and medical gestures of saving lives, and, on the other, with stricter borders control. In this paper, I reflect on the grammar of crisis and the forms of care that it simultaneously enables and disables. To operate under the banner of a ‘crisis’ precludes understanding of other grammars of care and psychic experiences that exceed any biomedical translation. I reflect on the relationship between two painters – one from Tunisia and one from Nigeria – who met in Italy, and the forms of therapeutic and ethical explorations that they do through art. I propose to attend to practices that bear witness to other grammars, or the lack thereof. These practices are the expression of a denial, or, better, of an interruption in the language of the crisis and pathology. They affirm the potential of other ways of experiencing – outside the crisis – through art, installations, and paintings.