Queer Tosquelles 2024

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Queer Studies KHM present International Conference

QUEER TOSQUELLES – Anti-Fascism, Vagabonding Psychiatry, Non-Identitarian Lives

Queer Studies KHM present International Conference:

21 June 2024, 10:30 – 22 June, 18:00

Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln

Aula of the KHM

Filzengraben 2, 50676 Köln

Free entrance.
In English - no online attendance or livestream available.

X / Twitter: @QueerTosquelles

QUEER TOSQUELLES will engage with the history of revolutionary, anti-fascist psychiatric practices and their involvement in ways of fleeing and resisting since the 1920s in Spain, France, Italy, and Germany.

The international conference will focus on the practices of Catalan/French psychiatrist François Tosquelles (1912–1994), who influenced Félix Guattari, Frantz Fanon and many others – from institutional analysis to political philosophy.
Tosquelles is still largely unknown in Germany. For some years now, however, a lively reception has been taking place in the art field, especially in Spain and France, with large archival and research exhibitions, catalogues and films.

The conference at the KHM will bring together researchers and artists working on the genealogies of Tosquelles's manifold surrounds and exploring the potentials of his practice today. Here, queerness emerges in many facets: through Tosquelles's insistence on the deconstruction of the nuclear family and the importance of other forms of making kin, through the various rhythms of vagabonding, through the weird, the strange, the non-sensical and the non-normalized, through a political philosophy of multiplicity, through a queering practice that traverses all non-identitarian forms of life.
With Janna Graham, Carles Guerra, Isabell Lorey, Angela Melitopoulos, Stefan Nowotny, Anne Querrien, Gerald Raunig, Wanderley Santos, Francesco Salvini, Henning Schmidgen, Elena Vogman.

Organized by Isabell Lorey, Anna Bromley, Konstantin Butz, Lilian Haberer, Katrin M. Kämpf, Mary Mikaelyan, Maren Mildner, Stefan Nowotny, Heidi Pfohl

In cooperation with the European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies (eipcp)



Friday – June 21

10:30 Start

Mathias Antlfinger (Rector of the KHM)

Lilian Haberer (Department Speaker of Art and Media Studies / KHM)

Katrin M. Kämpf (Queer Studies / KHM)


Isabell Lorey

Ergotherapy, Vagabondage, and Instituent Care


In his revolutionary psychiatric practice, Francesc Tosquelles insists that institutions cannot care unless everyone cares for the institution. In the process of instituting, instituent care erodes the walls of the institution, spreads to the surroundings and allows itself to be transversally permeated. As a form of vagabondage, it remains unfamiliar and strange and allies itself with resistance. One of the many inspirations for these practices came from the reformatory psychiatric ergotherapy of Hermann Simon, director of the psychiatric hospital in Gütersloh, North Rhine-Westphalia, who increasingly advocated biologistic and social Darwinist positions at the end of the 1920s. Tosquelles hijacked Simon’s reformist practices to make revolutionary use of them.

Angela Melitopoulos

Déconnage (Lecture and Screening)

In its original form, Déconnage is a multi-screen video installation with an archive table and a selection of books (2012, 100 min, Color). Déconnage is part of Melitopoulos’s audiovisual research, in collaboration with Maurizio Lazzarato, about Félix Guattari and the concept of machinic animism. This installation and video about the Catalan, anarcho-syndicalist psychiatrist and resistance fighter Francesc Tosquelles was conceived as an interlinked archival survey in experimental audiovisual form. It narrates the beginnings of the institutional psychotherapy invented in the psychiatric asylum of Saint-Alban-sur-Limagnole in the Lozère department in southern France during the Second World War.

14:00 – 15:00    Break

Carles Guerra

Tosquelles and the Delusional Narrator

Francesc Tosquelles is a truly fascinating storyteller. Through the many interviews he gave during his lifetime, he emerges as a pragmatic character. Sometimes facing catastrophe or otherwise diffuse humanitarian crises. So much so that, by the end of his life, the several interviewers he attracted were amazed by his epic, yet farcical tone. His account of his own life often challenges factual and archival evidence. At stake here is his own right to be a delusional narrator.

Stefan Nowotny                    

Living through the End of the World (as We Know It)

The question of catastrophic experience – an experience of ‘the end of the world’ – constitutes the subject of Tosquelles’s medical thesis Le vécu de la fin du monde dans la folie, submitted and defended in 1948. In the preface to its delayed publication in 1986, Tosquelles leaves no doubt that, while the thesis presented itself as a clinical account of such experiences ‘in madness’, he had written it under the impression of a madness inseparable from the dictates of normality: the madness of the Spanish Civil War and of World War II, which had indeed ended the worlds and lives of so many. Against this backdrop, I would firstly like to examine the intertwinement of clinical, philosophical and sociopolitical analyses in Tosquelles’s thesis and its implications for what would come to be termed institutional psychotherapy or institutional analysis. Secondly, I would like to consider the existential motif of an experienced ‘end of the world’ with a view to the desiring surges traversing it, but also to a radical multiplicity of experiences that challenges assumptions about the ‘we’ underpinning what is commonly perceived as a world.


17:00 – 17:30    Break

Anne Querrien

Tosquelles: Madness and Citizenship

Foolishness creates queer subjectivities, following as many paths as there are foolish persons. Foolishness, as a continuous variation on a given path, is blocked by repression or by the inability of the body to follow the mind.
Institutional psychotherapy creates spaces in which fools can express themselves by theater and can be political subjects, ordinary persons. Can the democratic spaces of the clinics be extended to other parts of society, as Guattari tried? Is this extension a kind of intersectionality, as in the local dispute between Tosquelles and Fanon?

18:30    End of first day

Saturday – June 22

10:30    Start 

Henning Schmidgen  

Tosquelles and Canguilhem: A Pathbreaking Encounter

In the summer of 1944, philosopher Georges Canguilhem spent several weeks hiding and caring for wounded patients in the psychiatric clinic of Saint-Alban as a ‘resistance-physician’. During this time, Canguilhem took part in the clinical work carried out at Saint-Alban, among other things by examining and observing the patient ‘Mme. C…’. In return, as it were, Tosquelles, Bonnafé and others read and discussed the medical thesis that Canguilhem had defended at the Université de Strasbourg in 1943, the famous Essay on Some Problems Concerning the Normal and the Pathological. My paper explores the convergences between the psychological views of Canguilhem and Tosquelles. It focuses on questions concerning the status of mental illness (and queerness) and the ‘normativity’, i.e., the autonomy, of organic individuals.

Elena Vogman                     

Three Billion Perverts: Tosquelles and the Politics of the Body

In his research on ‘extensive psychiatry’ and myokinesis with Mira i Lopez in Catalonia, and then on his flight from the Franco regime to France via the concentration camp Septfonds, Tosquelles conceived of the human body as perpetually moving— ‘always a migrant’. Displacement, foreignness, madness became for him essential features of being human. They constituted the point of departure not only for the geo-psychiatric, aesthetic, and environmental approach to psychiatric care at Saint-Alban, but also for ‘the politics of the body’ advanced within the framework of ‘institutional analysis’ at La Borde clinic. This presentation focuses on the censored issue of the journal Recherches, founded by CERFI and directed by Félix Guattari, with the title ‘Three Billion Perverts. The Big Encyclopedia of Homosexualities’ (1973). Following Foucault, the talk analyses in the anonymous and collective contributions to this issue the political and aesthetic means of regaining ‘possession of [one’s] own body, and of the bodies of others […] for purposes other than [their] use as a workforce’.

12:30 – 13:00    Break

Janna Graham and Wanderley Santos                                             

‘Death’ in the gaps: Pedagogies of Individualisation and Dis-alienation in London Urban Secondary schools

This presentation will draw from contemporary scenes in urban secondary schools in London where racialised students – whether directed towards Ivy League universities or barista training programmes – are routinely moulded into individuals via strategies as divergent as attachment therapy, behavioural psychology and corporate workplace cosplay. Where Tosquelles’s analysis of concentrationist tendencies drew from the spaces of the clinic and the camp, in this presentation we will look at the production of the individual through colonial and neoliberal practices of subjectivation in schools, which, though sometimes adopting the forms used by Tosquelles and others (the team, the newspaper, the Club), do so within an apparatus of social death that renders the life and practice of groups impossible. Working at the meeting places between Fanon and Tosquelles we will test possibilities for how, within these contexts, we might produce ‘transferential constellations’, processes that – beyond the ideal of pure horizontality – generate micro-revolutions of the individual, multiple expressions of singularity and transversal relations in a collective space.

14:15 – 15:30    Break

Francesco Salvini                  

Maquis in the Institutions

In 1987, a group of workers from Trieste met Francesc Tosquelles, a by now famous gathering recorded by Maurizio Costantino and Giovanna Gallio in La scuola di libertà (The School of Freedom). What emerges, as in other conversations of Tosquelles, is a style of research and invention that advances by association and displacement, in what Francesc Tosquelles calls déconnage. The point of arrival of the conversation is the common bet on a ‘maquis’ practice in the institutions. Starting from the word maquis, its polyvalence, its associations, its displacements we will propose a series of critical reflections on the complex and open relationship between Tosquelles’s practice and theory and the Basaglian experience in Trieste.

Gerald Raunig           

May See Dreams More Queerly

If your friends keep their spectacles on when sleeping, its only that they may see dreams more clearly. In this way reves and reveries, hallucinations and visions can become a second life. That vague subterranean land lights up little by little, and the pale, gravely immobile figures who inhabit the abode of limbo emerge from the shadows and the night. Then the image dividualizes, a new clarity illuminates and makes these bizarre apparitions dance. And with the ghostly transversal intellect of Nerval, Traffic, Stanshall and Tosquelles we might even learn to see dreams more queerly.

18:00  End


Janna Graham is a researcher, educator and organiser working at the intersections of institutional pedagogy, radical research and anti-colonial inheritances. Her recent work looks at the aural, visual and micropolitical dimensions of urban dispossession and resistance, and studies how legacies of colonial administration underpin neoliberal subjectivities, institutions and modes of publicity. She is co-author of the book How Conflicts and Media Make Migrants (MUP, 2020), a founding member of the Transversal Network for Institutional Analysis (TIAN), a member of the international sound and political collective Ultra-red and a Senior Lecturer in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Carles Guerra is, since 2022, a founding member of Ateneu Tosquelles (Fundació CPB Serveis de Salut Mental) in Barcelona. Guerra teaches film and museum studies at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. He is currently a member of the Collège de photographie et image animée of the Centre Nationale d’Arts Plastiques (CNAP) in France. He is former director of La Virreina Centre de la Imatge, Chief Curator of MACBA Contemporary Art Museum of Barcelona and executive director of the Fundació Antoni Tàpies. His latest research project has dealt with Francesc Tosquelles as a figure at the crossroad of anti-authoritarian policies, the emergence of institutional psychotherapy and the postwar European cultural avantgarde. This project has been presented at Musée Les Abattoirs in Toulouse, the CCCB Center for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, and most recently at the American Folk Art Museum in New York.

Isabell Lorey is a political theorist and Professor of Queer Studies in the Arts and Science at the Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln. She is one of the editors of the multilingual publishing platform transversal texts by the European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies (eipcp). Her book publications include: Figuren des Immunen. Elemente einer politischen Theorie, Diaphanes 2011; Immer Ärger mit dem Subjekt, transversal texts 2017 (Spanish: LaCebra 2017); Die Regierung der Prekären, Turia+Kant 2012 (State of Insecurity. Government of the Precarious, Verso 2015; Spanish: Traficantes de Sueños 2016); Demokratie im Präsens. Eine Theorie der politischen Gegenwart, Suhrkamp 2020 (Democracy in the Political Present, Verso 2022; Spanish: Subtextos 2023/Tinta Limon 2023). She is currently writing a book on improvisation, Tosquelles’s surrounds and the effects on political philosophy in the 20th century.

Angela Melitopoulos lives in Greece and has been making video essays, multi-screen installations, net-based editing projects, activist research, expanded cinema lectures, documentary films and music pieces since 1985. Her archival survey Déconnage about François Tosquelles and the revolutionary practice of geo-psychiatry (together with Maurizio Lazzarato) was produced in 2011 as part of the Animism exhibition (HKW; Extra Cities, Generali Foundation) and was an important inspiration for monographic exhibitions about François Tosquelles in France and Spain. A retrospective of her work took place in June 2023 at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. Melitopoulos studied at the Academy of Art in Düsseldorf (Nam June Paik) and at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne (Valie Export) and holds a PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London. She taught as Professor of Media Art at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, at the University of Arts and Design in Karlsruhe, Germany and as a Senior Researcher at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Stefan Nowotny is a philosopher based in Málaga and Vienna. He received his PhD from the University of Leuven (Louvain-la-Neuve) in Belgium and has taught at various European universities, including Goldsmiths, University of London (2011–2022). He co-authored and co-edited various books, collaborated in a number of research projects of the eipcp – European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies, and is part of the editorial board of the eipcp’s publishing platform transversal texts. Besides teaching commitments, his work currently focuses on the philosophy and politics of translation, on modes of affectivity, perception and subjectivation in contemporary technocapitalism, and on the histories and potentials of institutional analysis.

Anne Querrien, born 1945, sociologist and politologist, met Félix Guattari when she was a leader in the French student movement at the end of the 1960s. She worked with Félix Guattari from 1967 to 1980 by applying institutional analysis inside society and outside of the psychiatric clinics. They ran together the CERFI (Centre d’études, de recherche et de formation institutionnelles). While Guattari was writing with Deleuze and continued working in La Borde, she worked with the ministry for urbanism and ecological transition, editing Les Annales de la Recherche Urbaine. Today she is a member of the editorial board of the journal Chimères, created by Guattari in 1987, and a member of the editorial board of the journal Multitudes, created in 2000.

Gerald Raunig works at the eipcp (European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies) as one of the editors of the multilingual publishing platform transversal texts, and at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste as a Professor of Philosophy. Recent books in English include: DIVIDUUM. Machinic Capitalism and Molecular Revolution, Vol. 1, translated by Aileen Derieg, New York/Los Angeles: Semiotext(e)/MIT Press 2016; Dissemblage. Machinic Capitalism and Molecular Revolution, Vol. 2, Minor Compositions 2022; Making Multiplicity, Polity Press 2024.

Francesco Salvini (alias pantxo ramas) is a social researcher in the fields of care, institutional critique and welfare. Based on an academic background in social sciences, political economy and urban studies, he has participated in European and Latin American social movements and worked in the academy and in public policy design at the local level. With entrarafuera.net, he has been and is working on institutional transformations in care and health in Europe, in collaboration with local authorities and cultural institutions. He is a member of the Permanent Conference for Mental Health in the World Franco Basaglia (ConfBasaglia) and, with Franco Rotelli, he has founded and coordinated the documentation centre Oltre Il Giardino, for the Department of Mental Health of Trieste, WHO-CC until 2023.

Wanderley Santos is a psychodynamic psychotherapist and counsellor who specializes in intercultural issues. He works with children, young people, and adults. He is a member of the British Psychoanalytic Council and is keenly interested in the impact of racism and colonization, especially in the education sector. Wanderley has previously worked in secondary schools in London and is currently a counsellor at the University of Oxford. He was one of the contributors to an article titled ‘A Conversation between psychologist Wanderley Moreira and Alex Thorp’, published in The Perfect School? Serpentine Gallery Education (2016). Wanderley is also the author of an article titled ‘An Encounter Between a White Patient and a Black Psychotherapist’ as part of the book Therapy in Colour: Intersectional, Anti-Racist, and Intercultural Approaches by Therapists of Colour (2023). Additionally, he is a Visiting Lecturer in Therapeutic and Community Studies (MA in Psychodynamic Counselling & Psychotherapy) at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Henning Schmidgen is Professor of Media Theory and History of Science at Bauhaus University Weimar. Trained as a psychologist, he obtained his PhD with a thesis on Félix Guattari in 1996. His habilitation dealt with the history of experiments in 19th-century physiology and psychology. His main areas of research are historical epistemology, machine theory, and virtual laboratories. Recent books include: The Helmholtz Curves. Tracing Lost Time (New York 2014), Die Guattari Tapes (Leipzig 2019) and Horn, or The Counterside of Media (Durham 2022).

Elena Vogman is a media theorist and independent curator. Since 2021, she directs the research project ‘Madness, Media, Milieus. Reconfiguring the Humanities in Postwar Europe’ at Bauhaus University Weimar and is a visiting fellow at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry, Berlin. Her research focuses on the fields of Critical Psychiatry, Feminist and Postcolonial Theory with an emphasis on Film and Media. She has published in Grey Room, October and e-flux journal, and is the author of two books: Sinnliches Denken. Eisensteins exzentrische Methode (Sensuous Thinking, Eisenstein’s Eccentric Method, 2018) and Dance of Values. Sergei Eisensteins Capital Project (2019). She was a Visiting Professor at the École normale supérieure, Paris, and the New York University Shanghai, and has held postdoctoral positions at the International Research Institute for Cultural Technology and Media Philosophy (IKKM), Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, and in the DFG project ‘Rhythm and Projection’ at the Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature at Freie Universität Berlin.

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