Dis/Assembling Schizophrenia on YouTube

“As visual technologies become increasingly ubiquitous and networked, server websites such as YouTube provide a space to share vlogs (video blogs) online, to suggest related videos for viewers, and to help in/form virtual communities, including communities of illness. Within this space, vlogs of schizophrenia have emerged in recent years and offer those who claim to suffer from this mental illness a forum to share their lifeworlds with others. This paper theorizes the metaphysics of “being” within this transitional, dialogical state of illness that unfolds through multiple (analog, digital, virtual, networked) spheres. Using the example of a woman diagnosed with schizophrenia who extends her self-expression of illness online through YouTube, I will explore this articulation of unfolding through Brian Massumi’s theorization of affect, the analog, and the digital. Furthermore, I will use Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guatarri’s theorization of rhizomes and assemblages to describe the social networks that are formed through shared experiences of illness and posit ways in which vlogs speak back to the analog body, affect a body’s way of being in the world and push back at static, categorical definitions of schizophrenia. In this manner, my incorporation of Massumi, Deleuze, and Guattari’s work seeks to reconfigure past binaries such as mind/body, subject/object, nature/culture, immanence/transcendence, and leads us towards a more vitalistic way of thinking about analog bodies in motion as bleeding, resonating, affective, deeply connected intensities. Through a new language of emergence, fields, incorporeal materiality, rhizomes, assemblages, planes, virtuality, and becomings, vlogs on YouTube may foster a creativity, experimentation, and inventiveness within Western knowledge that deeply transform the sciences’ and the humanities’ understandings of schizophrenia.”


About dmf

alienist @ large, mostly on foot
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