The new MAAT facility is also a therapy clinic


The new MAAT facility also functions as a therapy clinic

In this exhibition you can let your anger run free in a punching bag and read other people’s secrets during various activities.

You can visit the exhibition until September 20th.

Art has an intrinsic ability to arouse feelings in us that can be good or bad. In the new artistic installation at the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) in Lisbon, the main aim is to bring us in contact with these feelings through different moments of reflection and activities.

Pedro Reyes, a Mexican artist, is the artistic head behind “Sanatorium”, the new MAAT exhibition, which offers its visitors up to nine therapies with different approaches and purposes. When entering the exhibition, you will feel as if you were in a therapy clinic thanks to the white coats of the museum guides.

The decoration of the room is quite simple.

Inês Grosso, curator of the exhibition, underlined the importance of this exhibition, especially after two prison sentences that affected the mental health of several Portuguese people. For them, this exhibition in the form of a clinic is a place of dialogue and self-discovery.

With each visit it is possible to take two or three of the nine available therapies, one online and two in a group. To visit those who best suit our needs, we first have a brief interview with a therapist.

These therapies are based on theater techniques, gestalt psychology, group activities, state-of-flow and trust-building games, corporate coaching, psychodrama, hypnosis, wisdom and popular culture.

“Vaccine Against Violence”, “Goodoo”, “Museum of Hypothetical Lives”, “Citileaks”, “Ex-voto”, “Mudras”, “Mirroring”, “Philosophical Casino” and “Compatibility Test for Couples” are the suggestions offered proposals from the artist.

The first experience is to let go of the anger and resentment we hold against someone. First we inflate a balloon and draw the face of the person who hurt us. Then we put it on a doll-shaped punching bag, in which we can let go of all our frustration without any external damage. In “Goodoo” the basics of Voodoo are sought, but with the aim of healing and bringing positivity, in contrast to the original. In this activity, participants will design a doll with five amulets or symbols, each with a different purpose. Then we can keep the doll or give it to someone we wish well.

The Museum of Hypothetical Lives lets us reflect on the past and imagine the future and create a path from our birth to our death. After that, we created a piece that is tied to the story we envisioned. “Citileaks” is about revealing our secrets, writing them down anonymously and putting them in a bottle that will eventually be read by another participant. The “ex-voto” is very simple: we just have to think of a special moment that we are grateful for and think about it.

“Mudras” are symbolic gestures that involve the body, are usually performed with the fingers and hands and stimulate the same brain regions as language. In this therapy, participants learn different mudras and even create their own to share with the group.

Goodoo dolls will make you or someone close to your heart happy.

“Mirroring” takes place on the street, with the visitor imitating the therapist’s gestures and facial expressions, imagining what he is feeling and vice versa. In the “Philosophical Casino” the participants are divided into groups. Each member has to write three questions which are put in a box. The questions are then answered by one of five dates that include quotations from the Greek era, the Far East, 19th century German philosophy, the Renaissance, and mid-20th century philosophers.

The “couple compatibility test” is an online experience in which couples have to say what their favorite fruit or vegetable is. Then they need to put them in a blender and make a juice. The compatibility of the couple is directly related to the taste of the drink.

“Sanatorium” was originally created in 2011 for the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Thanks to its success, it has toured several countries around the world. The pandemic also had an impact on the shows available on MAAT.

“During the pandemic, people were faced with a change in their rhythm, many people were very lonely, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s nice to have time for yourself. I think there is a lot of introspection that can only happen when we slow down. But now, after imprisonment, we are looking forward to the meeting, and the “sanatorium” offers a place for that. Not only to be heard, but also to be heard, ”says Pedro Reye in the installation brochure.

“Sanatorium” can be seen in the MAAT until September 20th.