Preview: Art and Mental Health

acting out

A season of art, music, dance, theatre and film coming to venues in Nottingham throughout April‏.

Acting Out is a groundbreaking season that explores the relationship between the arts, mental illness and modernity. From works by artists chronicling their own neurosis to a broader look at how society deals with mental health issues, Acting Out explores the well-documented correlation between art and mental illness and questions our definitions of normality.

Taking place in key venues across Nottingham, including Nottingham Contemporary, Primary and Broadway, Acting Out will give us new understanding and perspectives on mental illness: from medical, social and cultural perspectives to individual and collective viewpoints. The programme’s starting point is the contested Freudian term ‘acting out’ and the different ways that the term is used today. Often viewed as a negative expression, Acting Out Nottingham 2015 aims to shows how the arts can offer deeper understandings of the flexible boundaries between sanity and insanity.

Artist Suzanne Treister creates a series of vividly colourful posters with slogans that comment on surveillance and covert forces operating in our society. Combining psychedelic, computerised graphics with bold proclamations, she constructs an imagined visual identity for organisations that store our data, such as the National Security Agency (NSA) in the USA and The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in the UK.

Mental health treatment is explored by artist Jenna Bliss in a performance at Nottingham Contemporary that looks at the history of the Lincoln Detox Center in South Bronx, a pioneering health initiative set up by local addicts, doctors and radical groups such as the Black Panthers. Whilst a rare screening of Peter Robinson’s 1972 fly on the wall documentary, Asylum, shows us inside psychiatrist R D Laing’s controversial Archway community, a London row of houses where residents ran the asylum.

Personal experiences of extreme mental states are explored in a curated film programme at Broadway Cinema, from Anne Charlotte Robertson’s Five Year Diary, chronicling her battle with depression to Antonia Attwood’s exploration of her mother’s bipolar disorder.

With residencies and music workshops at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS and at Rampton Hospital, Acting Out helps to create real dialogues between the medical and artistic, challenging stereotypes, reducing stigma and championing new voices in the arts.


Into this Recovery Center
Jenna Bliss
Wednesday 8 April, 7pm
Nottingham Contemporary, The Space
Free admission

Post-Surveillance Art
Suzanne Treister
10 April – 9 May
Free admission

Sleepwalking Screen (Écran Somnambule)
Latifa Laâbissi
Friday 10 April, 7pm
Nottingham Contemporary, The Space
Free admission

Creativity and ‘Inner Vision’
Three Short Film Screenings curated by the Institue of Inner Vision, London College of Communication, University of the Arts London
Saturday 11 April, 1pm
Broadway Cinema
Susan Young, It Started With A Murder, 2013
Antonia Attwood, My Mother Tongue, 2014
Dolly Sen, Outside, 2013
There will be a conversation, Q&A and workshop with Sal Anderson, Antonia Attwood, Susan Young and Dolly Sen
Tickets £3.50

Asylum (15)
Dir. Peter Robinson, 1972, 95 min
Saturday 11 April, 3.30pm
Broadway Cinema
Tickets £3.50

Selections from the ‘Five Year Diary’ (1982-1994) (15)
Anne Charlotte Robertson
Sunday 12 April, 1pm
Broadway Cinema
The event will include a Q&A with Bárbara Rodríquez Muñoz (Curator, Wellcome Collection, London and Associate Curator, Acting Out Nottingham) and Benjamin Cook (Director, LUX).
Tickets £3.50

The Institution
Dir. Ian Breakwell, 1978
Tuesday 14 April, 6.30pm
Nottingham Contemporary, The Space
Free admission

Hearing Things
Playing On
Saturday 18 April, 7.30 pm
Nottingham Lakeside Arts, The Theatre
Tickets £5

Covered by Josie Opal

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