PROGRAMMING: The Visual Language of Psychiatry

The Visual Language of Psychiatry

Workshop led by Sajdeep Soomal
Saturday 1 February 2020, 1-4pm

Trinity Square Video
121-401 Richmond Street West, Toronto
Co-presented with Workman Arts

As a part of “Architecture after the Asylum”, we are organizing a workshop that explores the visual language of psychiatry. During the session, we will consider the ways that psychiatry has imagined, looked at, visualized and rendered the mad by working through archival material. Participants will play with, challenge and subvert the visual strategies that psychiatry has used to assert its legitimacy. Here is what we are talking about:

– mental health literacy campaigns
– psychiatric notes, written or typed
– medical photographs of hysteria
– gaydar and the semiotics of homosexuality
– brain imagining and the neuropsychiatric gaze
– beautified numbers, graphs and charts
– scientific drawings of pharmaceutical chemicals
– race and the psychiatric gaze

Space is limited, so please sign-up by emailing:
[email protected]

Participants should come with relevant visual material that they find frustrating, upsetting and manipulative. We will be discussing, remixing and fucking with that material. Digital images work well – see cover photo. We take the perspective that madness is a the product of a broken world, a normal bodily reaction to unhealthy living conditions and toxic environments. If you are interested in joining the workshop, please send a short email to BLANK with a few sentences about what material you’re thinking about bringing to the workshop.


Sajdeep Soomal is a writer, researcher, and curator working out of the South Asian Visual Arts Centre (SAVAC) in Toronto, ON. He is currently writing about anarchic mathematics, agricultural chemicals and psychiatry architecture. Sajdeep has previously worked at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. They hold an MA in History from the University of Toronto.

Architecture after the Asylum is a curatorial project that presents an open dialogue about asylums, psychiatric hospitals and mental health institutions that flows through sanity and insanity. The exhibition runs from 17 January – 22 February 2020 at Trinity Square Video.

Architecture after the Asylum is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council – Conseil des arts de l’Ontario