All Divided Selves
16 March–25 May 201316 Mar–25 May 2013
British artist Luke Fowler is known for his film portraits of radicals. His recent film, All Divided Selves, which featured in last year’s Turner Prize, addresses the controversial Scottish anti-psychiatrist R.D. Laing. Published in 1960, Laing’s most famous book, The Divided Self, argued that schizophrenia was the result of people struggling with socially prescribed identities. In the counterculture period, Laing struck a chord, attracting followers to his anarchic, individualist, anti-establishment philosophy. Laing embraced fame, appearing regularly on television, later branching out into theatre, teleplays, vaudeville, and even an album of songs. Although his ideas were subsequently discredited, the challenge Laing posed to an establishment in desperate need of reform continues to challenge and inspire. Constructed from countless hours of historical film and video footage, Fowler’s documentary is a dense, engaging, lyrical collage. It traces Laing’s transition from professional psychiatrist to celebrity. In scene after scene, Laing explains the experience of psychosis in language that is mesmerising, lucid, and compelling. Fowler weaves archival material with his own filmic observations, and marries a dynamic soundtrack of field recordings with recorded music by Eric La Casa, Jean-Luc Guionnet, and Alasdair Roberts. A joint project with OtherFilm.