Of Lunatics, or Those Lacking Sanity

The Sabatini Building of the Reina Sofia Museum served, until 1968, as the main building of the Hospital General y de la Pasion of Madrid. The hospital welcomed people with all manner of illnesses, while the building’s basements became a home for those excluded from society, “lunatics and the unsound of mind” as they were called at the time. Toward the end of the eighteenth century, King Charles Ill sent two mineralogists to the New Kingdom of Granada (present-day Colombia) to boost gold production and make it more profitable. Don Juan Jose D’Elhuyar and Don Angel Diaz Castellanos spent several years across the region, trying to implement new technologies that were, for various reasons, doomed to failure. While working in Marmato mines, Don Angel Diaz Castellanos began to show signs of suffering from what was diagnosed at the time as auriferus delirium. Compelled to return home, he was interned in the vaults of the Hospital General y de la Pasion.

For this work of ethno-fiction, Mapa Teatro’s artists followed Don Angel Diaz Castellanos’s footsteps in three areas in the Museum building, as well as in the traditional Marmato mines, and went in search of his phantasmagoria. All the materials compiled in Madrid and Marmato-including a gold statue of a Quimbaya chief-have been taken to the museum and transposed into image, sound, and machinery in order to bring this delirio aurifero to life. The same delirium that drove European colonialism and the foundation of nations in the Americas, and invented racialization, today drives the insanity that globalized capitalist exploitation is.

Artistic Team 
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Madrid, España

Octubre, 2018 - abril, 2019