MAD CHICKS SANS FRONTIERES: A Wild Night of Art, Music, Performance & Film, presented by Creative Routes, Mad Pride and Mad Chicks. LOSING IT stars culturally and psychologically diverse women performers, musicians, composers, writers, film-makers, sound artists and Resonance FM DJs.
Mad Chicks is about women psychiatric patients and survivors of the psychiatric system. The movement developed from within Mad Pride, a user-led, mental health, civil rights movement, committed to ending discrimination against psychiatric patients, challenging misinformation in relation to mental health and celebrating mad culture.
LOSING IT on International Women’s Day 2007 were:
Ana da Silva www.myspace.com/anadasilva
Anat Ben David www.myspace.com/55628524
Camberwell Composers Collective www.camberwellcomposerscollective.com
Ceri Buck www.openbracket.org.uk
Dolly Sen www.dollysen.com
Fari Bradley www.faribradley.co.uk
Lucy Panesar www.lucypanesar.com
Francine Luce (port & lemon) www.francineluce.com
Girl Monster www.myspace.com/girlmonsternet
Lucille Power www.franko-b-mentoring.co.uk/lucille_power.htm
Maggie Nicols (port & lemon) www.maggienicols.com
Psychological Art Circus www.psychologicalartcircus.net
Rachel Anderson www.franko-b-mentoring.co.uk/rachel_anderson.htm
Rai Studley www.myspace.com/raistudleymusic
Ruth Barnes www.myspace.com/ruthbarnes
Suzanne Andrade (1927) www.suzanneandrade.com
WHAT’S IN THE ZINE: GET IN TOUCH WITH OPENBRACKET@RISEUP.NET FOR A PAPER COPY
A short history of Mad Pride
Mad Pride, which launched in London in 1999, caused a stir amongst service users for its reclamation of the derogatory term ‘Mad’, declaring itself ‘the first great civil rights movement of the 21st century’.
There were sit-ins on Archway’s Suicide Bridge and outside the original Bedlam at the Imperial War Museum. Prankish actions drew attention to widespread but masked psychiatric distress. There were gigs, videos, radio shows and demonstrations, books and pamphlets, conferences and CDs: all practical examples of how creatively productive those deemed mentally unstable are. In the main these activities did not rely on funding, but were self-sustaining. Mad Pride did not go cap-in-hand to charities, as that involved cauterising its anti-capitalist attitude. Herein lay its ‘pride’. It was not about being proud of the horrible sides of mental distress, the depression, the dull hours vegetating in psychiatric asylums, forced medication and the contributions to drug company profits. But it did argue that somewhere in the dislocations of madness, the manic highs or the stunning lucid moments of social disconnection, there might be prototypical versions of other lives to be led. Dialectically refuting their own thesis of madness as prevalent and everyday, Mad Pride proclaimed that people are deemed ‘mad’ simply because they stick out in a crowd, because they refuse conformist lives, quietly and economically-productive in their alienation.
What’s so great about being normal anyway?
A Mad Chick doesn’t walk down central corridors
A Mad Chick doesn’t have a main entrance A Mad Chick doesn’t like regular jobs
A Mad Chick goes on holiday during weekdays A Mad Chick uses alternative routes
A Mad Chick is going to die young, even if she’s 90
A Mad Chick has lots of nicknames A Mad Chick won’t go offline
A Mad Chick won’t ask you to ‘join now’ A Mad Chick is unusual combinations
A Mad Chick is weird and naked A Mad Chick says welcome!
A Mad Chick uncovers desires
A Mad Chick disturbs closed minds
A Mad Chick sees the world in movement from the window of the bus
A Mad Chick converses with people who are still in t r a n s f o r m a t i o n
A Mad Chick is warts n all
A Mad Chick is always falling in love
A Mad Chick suffers PANGS
A Mad Chick likes a cuddle
A Mad Chick will make a fool of herself for love
A Mad Chick is single & available
A Mad Chick sings out of tune
A Mad Chick fails and tries again
A Mad Chick travels to the dark corners of her mind
A Mad Chick is a hard hat area A Mad Chick is fragile but hard to break
A Mad Chick is a dialogue with a friend
A Mad Chick is coming on in A Mad Chick is a hopeful creature
There is always someone complaining about the Mad Chick.
Love, create, write ……. emails discussing inspirations, passions, hurt, anger, creative graffiti on billboards, writing published on walls, chalked on the pavement, projected onto corporation headquarters or abandoned buildings from a mobile projector, home made posters stuck over flyposters, poems on stickers over barcodes in supermarkets, traces everywhere of our love for each other and for a chaotic order that excludes no being.
Create as if there is no centre, and if there is no centre coordinating everything, there are many points around which to turn, the universe can no longer be monolithic, monotonal it becomes open, diffuse, multiple, complex, filled with silence and mystery, of unknown unknowns, fragmented, undefinable, subversive, transgressive, dissolving identity while promoting ethical integrity, web-like and non-hierarchical, marginal, juxtapositional, destabilising, discontinuous, tentative, all of which are modes relating more closely to the life experience of women.
Create as if there is no centre – no external authority, no good or bad art, just art, creations from our own hands tumbling effortlessly onto and off of paper, screen, pavements, billboards, buildings, creations pouring out of and soaked up by our bodies. Create as if there is no centre, creating new forms rather than adopting pre-existing ones. Create and challenge the hierarchies existing within the institution of art, between the artist and viewer, create art that the viewer has to produce not consume, create playful art that is alive with meanings that result in conflicting interpretations that can co-exist without hierarchy.
Create without falling into the trap of erasing difference.
Listen to the cacophony of voices we can splinter into.
“I believe the main illusion we have to dispel is the illusion of our own impotence. If any one of us talks significantly enough even to one other person, that significance will resonate through the consciousness of dozens, hundreds, thousands of others, by direct contact, and by contact at many removes.” So, recharge your batteries hen … remember you are a Mad Chick, you do not walk down central corridors & have no need to bend yourself before those who hold power.
LOSING IT is breaking free, it’s women being aggressive, it’s a street protest, it’s recognising that my tools may not work for others, it’s trying, it’s diversity of tactics, it’s succeeding, it’s failing, it’s penetrating something, it’s being chucked out of a departmental store for doing something other than shopping, it’s shouting, it’s the buzz of doing something unexpected, it’s endorphins, it’s behaving in a way you’ve never behaved before, it’s loving a huge number of people, it’s collaborating, it’s being profoundly moved by a person’s behaviour, it’s glee, it’s falling in love, it’s getting stressed, it’s feeling flat, it’s in realizing that if you step out of line, you will be repressed, it’s in working through the fear of that, it’s in finding courage, it’s getting rid of yourself, it’s a riot, it’s in an affinity group, it’s in passing on stories, it’s in being committed to dialogue, it’s in asking difficult questions, it’s in compassion, it’s remembering what has happened, it’s learning from mistakes, it’s in new forms, it’s in risk, it’s in talking about a difficult subject, it’s in creativity, it’s in insistence, it’s in learning, it’s in creating the conditions for learning, it’s in respecting energy, it’s in respecting experience.
Everyone is bowed under to the nth degree
A weight of administration is crucifying them
No-one wants to rock the boat
Thank you and good night
No one can supervise me
Hermit crabs climb into other shells
and live there for a bit
Content is entirely up to you
Hello we are taking over this space
Once you say it it exists
It doesn’t take a lot to get it moving
I hate this word
I never use this word
I like to think of a gift model
There are such great people here
(things to keep in mind when you’re working with me)
This list is particularly relevant for anyone trying to help someone diagnosed with ‘borderline personality disorder’ (as i once was), is emotionally fragile or has been abused. … I am a human being, and deserve your respect and empathy. If I’m going to work with you I need to know that you believe this, and it’s a good place to start. Don’t be shocked if things suddenly blow up out of nowhere, if I seemingly overreact to something so small you didn’t even consider it an issue. Sometimes my skin feels like it’s been burned away and I can feel everything with frightening intensity. Buttons are more easily pressed, and wounds more easily opened. If you stay a while in my shoes you might understand that it’s not an overreaction at all – that it even makes some sense. Avoid overused terms such as ‘attention seeking’ and ‘acting out’. They make me feel angry that you’re not listening to me and don’t understand me at all. They have been used by far too many people, in far too many negative ways. Now they are a tried & tested way of getting me to put my barriers up and switch off. If I cut, yell, shout, overdose, burn myself or do something that screams ‘attention seeking’ to you please don’t switch off, withhold help or judge me unfairly. Remember that if I’m looking for attention there’s always a reason why. When I’m beginning to learn that it’s ok to ask for help verbally, without doing anything drastic, please value that as the breakthrough it is. It’s not an easy thing for me to do, and it’ll be clumsy a lot of the time – but if you recognise it and encourage it it’ll get easier. Understand that my past experiences have left me bruised, battered and otherwise scarred. This isn’t just a result of the abuse, but is also a product of the treatment I’ve received whilst in the system. Every negative experience just adds to the trauma, and it’ll take a lot of slow painstaking work to overcome it. I’m not just a mental patient – I’m a talented, artistic and intelligent individual. I care deeply for the people around me, and I have many strengths & weaknesses that are unrelated to my mental ill health. Don’t fall into the trap of seeing my illness before you see me. If I act in a way that upsets you, scares you or makes you angry please feel able to speak to me about it – but make sure it’s for the right reasons and at the right point in time. Yelling at me after an overdose will just make things worse, so will ignoring me or telling me how stupid I am. Yes, you have feelings to, but please sort them out with another professional before you talk to me. Don’t do it in anger, and if you do then apologise afterwards – it’ll help our relationship if we acknowledge we both have flaws. Be straight with me – don’t make promises you can’t keep, and don’t placate me with things you don’t believe. This will just add to the chaos of my world, and everything really is confusing enough already. Be yourself. In the long run I’ll respect you for it, and it’s an essential requirement if I’m going to begin to trust you. And finally – give me time to be me. Sit with me in my distress and don’t be afraid to show that you care. Don’t dismiss my feelings, and if they are too intense or bring stuff up for you then talk to someone and get support. You don’t need to fix me, I’m not a broken toy and I sometimes just need someone to listen to me and say that, yes – it really is crap – and then make me a cup of tea. That helps me more than you can imagine.
Rachel Studley ©