Kunstverein Am Rosa Luxemburg Platz, Berlin

[…] On the other side of the room, almost as a commentary or explanation, a wallpaper with motifs from John Haslam's book „Illustrations of Madness” from 1810 refers to the very modernity that began then and is now overwriting itself with increasing speed. Haslam's book contains the first psychiatric description of a so-called influencing machine, i.e. a fictitious technical apparatus to whose hidden influence psychotic patients attribute their
experiences of external control. A man is depicted entangled in a machine-like construction, reminiscent of a proto-computer server, i.e. a quasi office environment.

In the meantime, technologies - from electricity to telephones to lasers - have replaced the devils and demons previously identified as external causes in psychopathology as the cause of mental disorders. This bizarre parallel history of technology in paranoid delusion is somewhat corrected by a massive X that appears both in the image and in real space. Combining sign and image quotation, a certain ambiguity emerges that evokes and simultaneously erases notions of invisible processes and means of control that shape reality. What remains is the feeling of a "deep sadness at the inadequacy of the world" - precisely that Weltschmerz that exists only in German. (Jean Paul)