This essay concerns the devices that oversaw the functioning of the criminal asylum in the Thirties. A device which for many decades has made every single story possible, but that in its abstract form could collect stories a thousand times similar to those which it really picked up. A non-anthropomorphic social subject that does not appear in relation to the concrete individuals, but that classifies and gathers individuals who are actually necessary for its operation. In this way the living being remains entangled in the bloodless simulacra of classifications. A true prodigy: it is as if the asylum had reflected on a plate not for show, but to silence – in their ephemeral lives – men of flesh and blood who gathered every day for the needs of Science and the urgency of Security. What pulses under the bare surface is revealed only indirectly, through a determined symptomatology. To violate the seal of secrecy and cunning of the machine this essay looks for an analytical research of madness and psychiatric power.

Keywords: Criminal Asylums; Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto; Device; Classification; Subjectivity.