From Confinement to Self-Confinement. Antonin Artaud’s Singular Story

Prison, Body and Confinement
By Emanuela Sabatini, Caroline Heanue, Thamy Ayouch

This work deals with the question of confinement in psychiatric institutions and their evolution in France. The issue of confinement encompasses different aspects. Confinement functions as a focal point or a Moebius strip because hospital walls do not necessarily define what is inside and outside. The subject’s singularity is at stake, as far as their illness, existence and being in the world are concerned. Through different (linguistic, historical, philosophical and clinical) research perspectives, the aim of this paper is to question the relationship between subjects and the psychiatric institutions, from the perspective of Antonin Artaud’s particular history. Located in a precise historical moment, Artaud witnesses, unawares, the important modifications that will be accomplished later. In other words, he gives a testimony of his reconstruction through his own delirium, his use of language and writing and the specific solution he came up with through the invention of an immortal “enclosed body” for himself. Through his story, Artaud also testifies to a precise moment when psychiatry that started questioning its status of separate facilities, an issue that is still crucial today.

  • confinement
  • asylum
  • madness
  • freedom
  • Antonin Artaud
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