Schreber is a Woman – Video Art on Queer and Trans History With El Palomar

Oct 7, 2022 | 7.00 pm

Schreber is a Woman, film still, 2020 © El Palomar

In their audiovisual piece Schreber is a Woman, the Barcelona-based artists’ collective El Palomar delves into the mind of Daniel Paul Schreber, a German lawyer (1842–1911) who became famous for his reports from a psychiatric clinic that later inspired Freud. In his Memoirs of My Nervous Illness from 1903 Schreber recounts feeling like a woman, among other experiences. The book influenced Sigmund Freud to elaborate his theories on paranoia and schizophrenia. Relevant to Schreber’s story is the fact that his father, Dr. Moritz Schreber, authored several books that proposed strict authoritarian models for the physical and moral education of children, which were very popular in Germany and other parts of Europe at the turn of the nineteenth century.

El Palomar uncover and reinterpret the writings of Schreber from a transfeminist perspective to deconstruct the Freudian link between Schreber and schizoprenic paranoia trough a queer viewpoint. Focusing on the images and sounds that Schreber describes in his memoirs, the film offers a rereading of the case as rooted in a period when gender identities were restricted to classical binary archetypes. Schreber is a Woman subverts the original circumstances of queer lineage, recontextualizing gender and pleasure in the present.

Together with El Palomar, we will use the story as a basis for a queer meditation on transness, biopolitics, and German children’s books.

The event is part of the accompanying program of the exhibition TO BE SEEN. queer lives 1900–1950