Detox USA

Mark Wasiuta (Canada), Florencia Alvarez (Argentina)

Galata Greek Primary School


“There are now more than fourteen thousand rehabilitation centers in the United States and tens of thousands of detoxification retreats have sprung up globally. Across these, detox doubles as a clinical process and as a form of appetite management, spanning methadone cures to kale smoothies. As the roster of addiction expands — drugs, sex, love, porn, phones — so does the approach to therapy and to ‘healing experiences.’… If the early Esalen Institute, and other counter-cultural resorts, formalized drug use as a tool for expanding consciousness and opening the doors of perception, New Age retreats offered alternate avenues to enlightenment. Ecstatic contamination through LSD ceded to ecstatic purification through detoxification, diet, yoga, meditation and a complex of therapies that substituted chemical ingestion with chemical recalibration.” –MW


Detox USA examines the proliferating rehabilitation centers and detoxification retreats of the United States as isolation and withdrawal facilities where a new human behavior is designed. This exhibit traces the rise of contemporary detox clinics back to the rural retreats and institutes that became popular in California during the 1960s and 1970s. Ironically enough, these were places where experimentation with drugs was part of a therapeutic process to reach a new level of awareness.