Buenos Aires is known for being the city with the highest number of psychotherapists per person in the world. Most of them are concentrated in Recoleta, a bourgeoise neighborhood inhabited by the elite of the capital. That’s why people call it Villa Freud, the Freud’s Ville. In Argentina, the word Villa is also used to refer to slums, so Villa Freud would also mean Freud’s Slum. When you enter inside the Borda psychiatric hospital you have the feeling of being in the middle of a shanty town, a Freudian ghetto.
The Borda is the most important psychiatric hospital of Buenos Aires. Located among the marginalized barrios of Barracas and Constitución, looks like a small town which reflects perfectly the contradictions of Argentinian society. Not surprisingly, in 2013, the current nation’s president, Mauricio Macri, sent the police to suppress a protest of patients, nurses and psychologists with tear gas and bullets. The structure of the hospital is in ruins because of the government’s neglect and it is able to aid less and less patients every year. The residents, dressed in dirty clothes, roam around the little town inside the Borda asking for cigarettes and yerba mate. The treatments to which they are submitted are often antiquated and inhumane. Cases of HIV, Hepatitis, rape, abuse, mysterious deaths are frequent. At the same time, the Borda represents an important site for the anti-psychiatric movement. Here the world’s first radio managed by psychiatric patients was born. Mental health social workers come from all over the world to learn the most advanced anti-psychiatric techniques. Most of the pictures have been taken during workshops organized by the Frente de Artistas, one of the oldest and most radical group of activists which works inside the hospital. The Frente, which is composed by patients, psychologists and artists, was born in 1984 and for more than 30 years has struggled to destroy the (mental and physical) walls of the asylum.