Roles in Archive: Artist
b. 1978 Glasgow, Scotland
Luke Fowler takes an unorthodox approach to documentary filmmaking. He frenetically pastes together footage: much of which has been exhumed from obscure sources in a manner that evokes, rather than explains, his subjects. In What You See Is Where You’re At (2001), Fowler focuses on the controversial Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing and his experimental asylum at Kingsley Hall, a former community center in London’s East End. The asylum, known as the Archway Community, operated from 1965 to 1970 and was founded on the notion that schizophrenia is best treated by allowing those afflicted to work through their illness in an accepting and permissive environment, free of generally accepted treatment methods such as the administration of electroshock therapy and psychiatric drugs. In the film, which incorporates archival footage shot inside Kingsley Hall, sense and nonsense intermingle to the point where language begins to break down, along with the thin line between sanity and madness.