Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Psychotechnic Torture"


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"A Spanish art historian uncovered the first use of modern art as a deliberate form of torture: Kandinsky and Klee, as well Buñuel and Dalí, were the inspiration behind a series of secret cells and torture centers built in Barcelona in 1938, the work of a French anarchist, Alphonse Laurenčič (a Slovene family name!), who invented a form of 'psychotechnic' torture: he created his so-called “colored cells” as a contribution to the fight against Franco’s forces. The cells were as inspired by ideas of geometric abstraction and surrealism as they were by avant-garde art theories on the psychological properties of colors. Beds were placed at a 20-degree angle, making them near-impossible to sleep on, and the floors of the 6-foot-by-3-foot cells were strewn with bricks and other geometric blocks to prevent the prisoners from walking backward and forward.The only option left to them was staring at the walls, which were curved and covered with mind-altering patterns of cubes, squares, straight lines, and spirals which utilized tricks of color, perspective, and scale to cause mental confusion and distress. Lighting effects gave the impression that the dizzying patterns on the wall were moving. Laurenčič preferred to use the color green because, according to his theory of the psychological effects of various colors, it produced melancholy and sadness."

Full downloadable PDF of Žižek's book The Paralax View

Text:
Žižek, Slavoj. The Paralax View. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2006. Web. Aug. 19, 2014. <https://libcom.org/files/Zizek-The%20Parallax%20View.pdf>

Image Source:
Romero, Pedro G. "Dècor." Archivo FX. Web. Aug. 19, 2014. <http://fxysudoble.com/es/tesauro/d/decor/>

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