With Les oxymores de la raison Kader Attia has created an expansive video library containing interviews with philosophers, ethnologists, historians, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, musicologists, patients, healers, fetishists, and griots. Its volumes are edited according to themes like “Genocide,” “Totem and Fetish,” “Reason and Politics,” or “Trance.” The videos make up an essay on psychiatric pathology as it is perceived in traditional non-western as well as in modern western societies. In its mix of rational explanations and irrational representations of what the west calls psychiatry, the work is particularly concerned with the question of the unrepairable, inherent in the idea of “repair,” and calls into question the ambivalence of the psyche of modern western societies towards traditional non-western ones.
Attia’s library not only points to reason’s oxymorons but also to history’s oxymorons and the ambivalent nature of historical progress that can be regarded as a process of injury and repair leaving its traces in social psychopathology.
In the Forum Expanded exhibition, the four volumes “Ancestors,” “Virtual/Real,” “Group,” and “Modernity” will be presented.