Here is my itty-bitty contribution to Channel 4 Goes Mad season. 4Thought asked the question: 'What is Madness?' I could have talked for hours on the subject, but if fact the producer didn't want me to answer it but tell my story in a minute and a half. I would have liked longer to qualify some of what I said, but here it is www.4thought.tv/themes/what-is-madness/dolly-sen.
What has been interesting about the 4thought this week, when it poses that question is the debate it has brought up amongst people who use mental health services themselves. Earlier on in the 4thought week there was a woman who talked about angels, and some people who use services didn't like it, that it showed hearing voices as a positive thing. What is really shocking is that so many people who hear voices and stuck in the system don't know that most voice hearers are not in the system. Romme and Esher did a study on it and they found the difference between the two groups was that those not in mental health services felt they were in control of their voices, whilst those who use the mental health sytem didn't feel in control.
Here is the angel lady's contribution www.4thought.tv/themes/what-is-madness/rosemarie-moore--2
I know this slot of the lady talking about angels would be very useful in my training around mental health to explore: What is mental health? Because this woman is probably mentally healthier than most people, in that she may be happy, contented, and feel connected to the world. It would start a discussion around hearing voices, and the fact most people don't know that most voice hearers are not in the mental health system, and most voice hearers have helpful, supportive voices. So when is the point that mh professionals deem it pathological? Because the evidence shows pathologising it is a sure way of people suffering more because of it. In societies where voice hearing is acceptable, it has a higher 'recovery' rate. It also opens up the question: what is delusion? Because a Gallup poll in 1995 found 70% people believe in aliens and 31% believed in ghosts. This is an unusual belief but a socially acceptable belief, which brings up the question: how much of psychiatry is based on judgment and social policing than on 'illness'. Believers of God think atheists are deluded, and it is true the other way round. The discussions out of that minute and a half clip can inexorably change and make people questions their beliefs around mental health. And that is a good thing.
I don't know if many people know this but I share a house with a fellow artist. Her real name is Lucky, but her artist name is Lux. I have profiled her work previously on DAO.
To celebrate her birthday today, she created her latest masterpiece, called Basketcase. I think it is her most profound work to date.
I interupted her discussion with me as to why dogs have elbows in their legs, to ask her about her art.
DOLLY: Tell us about your latest work 'Basketcase'.
LUX: It is a statement about modern life, an anti-materialistic stance, basically saying: the more toys you collect, the bigger the basketcase you are.
DOLLY: That's quite powerful. But you know I am a mad person and take offence to the fact you are using the term 'basketcase' in a derogatory way.
LUX: Relax, I am just a dog.
DOLLY: So tell us what your work is, in a general sense.
LUX: My work explores the relationship between the Military-Industrial Complex and copycat violence.
With influences as diverse as Rousseau and Francis Bacon, new combinations are crafted from both explicit and implicit textures.
Ever since I was a puppy I have been fascinated by the endless oscillation of the universe. What starts out as undefined soon becomes corrupted into a hegemony of lust, leaving only a sense of undefined and the unlikelihood of a new synthesis.
As wavering replicas become transformed through undefined and critical practice, the viewer is left with a new agenda of the inaccuracies of our existence.