The talk interrogates the distinction between the mad and the other from the perspective of Levinas’ ethics. The research starts with an analysis of the social construction of the figure of the madman and his historical metamorphosis throughout the ages demonstrating, through the use of Foucault, how the category of ‘the mad’ or the binary sanity/insanity evolved. The talk will then turn to a socio-historical analysis of the metamorphosis of the madman’s other. This reversal is essential in order to problematize this distinction and introduce the ethical dimension of the ‘other.’
The talk will focus, in a visual perspective, on the key case studies of two particular forms of ‘madness’, graphomania and hypergraphia, which are behavioral conditions that have been associated with madness and with creative individuals. These consist in an excessive urge for writing and filling void spaces (horror vacui) and they exemplify one of the categories of mental illness where the thin line between madness and otherness became –especially in the digital era- critical and sometimes even absent.
Born and raised in Trieste, Italy Alessandro moved to Beirut in 2011 to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design at the American University of Beirut. His interests vary from literature, philosophy, fine arts, illustration, animation, poster design, publication design, branding, environmental design and packaging.