The film Estado de malestar (State of Malaise, 2019) by artist María Ruido sets forth an analysis of the malaise and illnesses stemming from capitalism in the information age. This context frames a general feeling of sadness, incurred through isolation and privacy, which is alleviated by consumerism and pharmaceuticals and confronted by a kind of ‘magic voluntarism’, a symbol of the false liberal autonomy of “if you want, you can”.
Discipline and concentration in our digital societies – with scattered, remote modes of production and subordination – no longer have an ‘outside’ from work. Whereas in 2011 mobilised citizens took to squares to share their unease, lives in recent years seem to be back on the path towards the home, turning job uncertainty not into something economic but into a living condition: a life where it is impossible to plan in the medium or long term, where we are forced to co-exist with unforeseen circumstances and where new class and relationship politics do not fully deal with long-vanished structures.
Setting out from texts by contemporary thinkers such as Mark Fisher, Franco Berardi “Bifo” and Santiago López Petit, and from conversations with male and female philosophers, psychiatrists, nurses and sociologists, people impacted and users of the healthcare system and their neighbours, María Ruido conceives this visual essay on social symptomology and mental suffering in times of capitalist realism, on pain that arises from the ways of life we are immersed in and on the places and actions of resistance and/or change we can build to combat it.
The film will be presented by the artist, along with the critical mental health collective InsPiradas. Together they will hold a debate after the film screening.
The film score will be performed live during the screening by the group Edredón, the creators of the work’s original soundtrack.
María Ruido is a film-maker, visual artist, researcher and teacher. She works as a professor in the Department of Visual Arts and Design at the University of Barcelona and is a member of different research groups focused on representation and its contextual relations.
Since 1998, she has developed multidisciplinary projects on the social construction of the body and identity, work imagery in post-Fordism capitalism and the construction of memory and the relation it bears to narrative forms of history. More recently, her work has revolved around new forms of decolonial imaginaries and their emancipatory possibilities.
Her most recent productions include the documentary essays Le rêve est fini (2014), L´oeil impératif (2015) and Mater Amatísima (2017).
Colectivo InsPiradas is a feminist and non-mixed Madrid-based collective with affinity and critique in mental health, setting out from first-person experience to condemn the hetero-patriarchal capitalist system that is so damaging to mental health.
Edredón is an electronic rock band with a sound that straddles post-rock, electronica, krautrock, ambient, psychedelia and progressive rock genres. They have released four LPs: Edredón (2010), Yuri Triem (2013), Susan (2015) and Estado de Malestar (2018), the original score to María Ruido’s film.