Artist Marcus Coates Asks: How Does Psychosis Feel? Adam Hines-Green, δημοσίευση ArtReview [18/10/2022]
The Directors at Churchill Gardens Estate, London attempts to understand the ‘un-understandable’
The psychiatrist and philosopher Karl Jaspers (1883–1969) described two ways of acquiring knowledge about mental illness: explanation (through observation) and understanding (through empathy). However, as he wrote in his magnum opus General Psychopathology (1913), ‘with understanding there are limits everywhere’. He suggested there were some psychotic symptoms – experiences dislocated from what we agree to be reality – that were ‘un-understandable’; where the shared foundations of reality are so lacking that another person cannot be said to truly understand.
The Directors centres on Marcus Coates attempting to understand. He presents a film in each of five venues in Pimlico, including a residents’ association building, a shop, a former curry house, the bedroom of a flat, and a GP conference room. Each film is made in collaboration with an individual with lived experience of psychosis who has responded to a call from the mental health charity Mind to participate in the project – Marcus Gordon, Stephen Groves, Lucy Dempster, Anthony Donohoe and Mark Banham. Coates casts himself as these individuals in each of the five films and is, as he says in a conversation with psychiatrist and neuroscientist Dr Isabel Valli which accompanies the exhibition, ‘a willing conduit; someone they could use to project their experiences onto’.
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