DOMENICO MANGANO & MARIEKE VAN ROOY   Projects  Bio  Articles  Info



HOMESTEAD OF DILUTION, 2016, HD video 48'.

With the film Homestead of Dilution, we have investigated the renowned Dennendal affair that took place at the psychiatric institution Willem Arntsz Hoeve in Den Dolder (the Netherlands) in the 1970s. Here, the psychologist Carel Muller and architect Frans van Klingeren promoted the radical emancipation of the patients and proposed to abandon conventional psychiatric methods, among medication and isolation regimes, and instead aimed to open the institution’s grounds to let patients intermingle and engage in activities with other inhabitants from outside societal realms. They named this principle ‘dilution’, the idea of adding ‘normality’ to ‘craziness’. However, Muller’s famous experiment was ended after four years in 1974. Homestead of Dilution focusses on the legacy of the Dennendal affair and links its history with the present day state of mental healthcare in the Netherlands. Currently undergoing a nationwide transformation, with the envisioned goal of closing all remote psychiatric institutions, the artists have detected local forms of spontaneous and temporal dilution within this moment of indecisiveness. In that, the film outlines the current state of the psychiatric institution in Den Dolder and combines this with a re-enactment of the ‘dilution concept’, involving participatory exchanges with the patients who are currently residing at the institution. These exchanges were inspired by a survey that was circulated in the 1970s at Nieuw Dennendal, engaging the patients and the staff in collectively thinking about the activities that could be developed on the terrain as to further stimulate the effect of dilution.

The project was developed during an artist in residency at Het Vijfde Seizoen and supported by the Mondriaan Fund. It is the second part of a video trilogy about the heritage of the anti psychiatry movement in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.