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[Xmca-l] Re: Unreading Althusser

Hi Annalise,

I am not sure I understand your correlation between the video programs and kitsch.  It seems to me Morten Nissen is critiquing the establishment view of the videos on a number of levels, while still trying to suggest that they are a better method than the more individualistic, traditional therapies of motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy.  I can really sympathize, having spent a number of years on a research project comparing motivational interviewing, CBT and treatment as usual (spoiler alert, neither of the interventions have any real impact).  And yet that is all we do.

U-turn suggests a new method, except at least it seems to me Nissen fears it falling into similar traps.  One of the traps is treating the video as an object that forces reconsideration of the user's - in this case Birren - life structure leading to drug addiction - at least I think that is what Nissen is saying.  That the video becomes something controlled by the therapy community rather than integrated into the larger life scheme of the user.  But I see this as a really complex argument.  Yes, the way that Nissen describes this - as an advanced form of video story telling with trained videographers it does easily become an object rather than part of the processes of life.  Whose video is it, the user's, the videographer's, the therapist's, the social work community establishment.  But I think much of this has to do with understanding the role of this type of video storytelling, which is more about the community, what Nissen I think refers to as the collective than the individual (I think this point is kind of made at the end of the article).

But what if it could be a different type of video, made from start to finish by Birren and other users.  Mike's earlier request for programs where individuals can easily make videos makes much more sense.  A student working on our research project did her dissertation within a participatory action research format in which she organized the homeless youth/users (the study was about addiction among homeless youth) into a performance truth.  She also was looking to create the performance as an object that would lead to reflection on the structure of their lives, but I think in a much more grass roots, genuine way.


-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Annalisa Aguilar
Sent: Sunday, February 08, 2015 2:42 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Unreading Althusser

Hello esteemed xmcars, 

I have done a quick reading of Morten Nissen's chapter and I would like to proffer that what he describes with the video production as a form of therapy for the drug addict (as sponsored by state programs), does resemble to me the very kind of interactions that happened to create the Kitsch in Art and how it came to be that Kitsch is the favorite art of dictators (see my previous post in this thread, in particularly I suggest in this context the essay by Greenberg as well as the WSJ article).

It is as if what is considered hopeful (helpful), what is considered therapeutic(empowering), which is done to transcend the past and the future by being in the present, all that is erased by collapsing what is meaningful into a formula of the unique or of sentiment (in this case, hope), a kind of Möbius strip of experience as possibility, which ends up becoming meaningless. Is the glass half full or half empty?

I'm being a more than a little intuitive here, knowing that I may not be walking on terra firma, which may not be very smart as I risk the concrete blocks of "dogma" crashing around my head: It is easy to label the original as dogma if one has adopted the stance of kitsch, I am realizing. 

Despite that risk, I sense similar patterns to Nissen's paper and notions of kitsch (and how kitsch is created), and while I'm unsure at this point of time if this observation has merit, I offer it for discussion with the best of intentions. 

Kind regards,