GRIN is pleased to present a special screening of Liz Magic Laser’s video Primal Speech (2016) as part of a closing reception for the group exhibition, The Split, curated by Amanda Schmitt. In accordance with the curatorial intention of The Split, Laser’s Primal Speech also takes direct reference from the theories of Arthur Janov and his Primal Scream theories.
For the creation of this video, Laser collaborated with Certified Professional Life Coach, Valerie Bell, trained in Primal Therapy techniques, a radical 1970s approach that used abreaction: the cathartic re- experiencing of a traumatic event. In this method the therapist coaches the patients to reenact scenes from their past and express repressed feelings. Reliving past trauma was thought to be the only route to relinquishing victimhood and transforming oneself. In this film actress, Gisela Chípe, delivers therapeutic questions, directly addressing the viewer as patient. Behind the scenes Laser and Bell apply the techniques of Primal Therapy to treat a group of actors, encouraging them to revisit and conflate their formative experiences with their current political frustrations, investigating opposing political convictions about Brexit and the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Manipulation and catharsis merge into a vision of political discourse as palliative care.
For more information about this work and video credits, please visit the artist’s website.
Image credit: Primal Speech, Liz Magic Laser, 2016, single-channel video, video still.