Malaise and illness in the information society is the topic that María Ruido addresses in this visual essay. Drawing on an autobiographical episode that led her to take antidepressants for a while (as the artist tells us: “an episode of failure”), she made a documentary that reinforces the thesis that, even in mental health, everything private is also public. She lived her malaise and sadness as an exclusively personal life experience, just like other users of one of the most widely prescribed drugs on the planet – and especially in so-called ‘first-world’ countries. However, a subsequent reading of the book Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? by the cultural theorist and lecturer Mark Fisher made her understand that a personal experience is the effect or outcome of a system for managing the path imposed by the capitalist regime.
Her readings of the philosophers Santiago López Petit and Franco Berardi “Bifo”, and of the psychiatrist Guillermo Rendueles, provided a theoretical framework on which to construct Estado de malestar. When, in cities like Madrid or Barcelona, she discovered the work being done by groups providing mutual help and fighting against pharmacological therapy such as Flipas GAM and ActivaMent, it became much clearer to her that she had to denounce the fact that this state of chronic sadness and of constant malaise was directly linked to the burden of job insecurity, eternal uncertainty, digital society and extreme individualism that we are driven to bear. As Ruido told us at the presentation of the work in Madrid in March 2019: “[It is] A work about contemporary malaises and mental suffering in times of capitalist realism.”