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critical writing

Health and Art: a dialogue of provocation.

About work

Faced with the need to build the question of art and health, understanding from the beginning these two terms as already given, already present among us in somehow, it remains to try to start with what has been done and how the connection between them has been established. In our society, the discourse on health is captured by science. However, this appropriation is neither apolitical nor lacks a framework of ethics. The scientific discourse on health is closely linked, throughout power relations, to everything that is exposed.On the other hand, health, in its ontological sense, implying openness, is inextricably linked to art. Scientific thinking itself requires it to opening which allows the analogy, when formulating hypotheses of any experiment. Both --art and health-- are turned toward the same aperture, women’s and men's infinite possibilities that appear on the horizon of their projects. Also, and is ethically to say, turned towards the dangers of fully existence.

health art heidegger

works/27881ea0f8ba24bc5145d12a6fbebe09/thumbnail/health and art dialoge of provocation.pdf

Editors comments More info on Curators & Editors ›

The present text provides a fresh look at the relationship between the discourse of health / disease and artistic practices. The relationship that exists today is more like a non-relationship. Therefore the text - that provokes answers and ask the right questions - also hit the root of the problem of health discourse and its core institutions. The question is: how to transcend the boundaries of health discourse that dominates in Western societies and establish dialogue with alternative health/artistic practices? A starting point for understanding the apparatus of health discourse should be writings of Michel Foucault. He made enormous efforts to open this discourse with practices that fall beyond scientific health gaze. As we know from history and anthropology, superstitions and shamanic techniques were once dominant health practices. Today they are not part of scientific gaze, so we use alternative knowledge - including those artistic practices (singing, dancing, etc.) – as complementary health practices. In short, although alternative practices still escape from gaze of health science, a dialogue between these two types of health practices is opening new dimensions of resolving health problems. In this context, the establishment of a relationship or dialogue, which can be seen as a provocation or experiment, is overcoming pure scientific thinking (which itself requires reconstruction).

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Other comments

7 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for your words, Nicola. Michel Foucault's work is impressive, and emphasizes the idea of the power behind those hegemonic discourses. I tried to think in another direction: the discourse of power as a calming speech that distances us from the threat of death, which is always present when we make a real decision. Go beyond the ambiguity of official discourse (a concept of Heidegger) is a challenge and an act of courage. The courage is what makes dialogue real.

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Entry details


Health and Art: a dialogue of provocation.

Concept author(s)

Mariano Mussi

Concept author year(s) of birth




Competition category

critical writing

Competition field


Competition subfield


Subfield description

epidemiologist, writter, activist.