9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN02 Sociology of the Arts

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Arts and Sciences Building II, C6.07

Artist Residency: Psychiatric Unit

Working in a UK based NHS hospital, Heald & Liggett, two contemporary artists, collaborate with patients and staff in an adult psychiatric unit, engaging with arts and science audiences.

The purpose of this research will be to enquire into the politics of location/feminist psychoanalytical theories/psychological resonance and the philosophical complexities of arts and science collaborations. Heald & Liggett´s collaboration involves working in a 71-bedded acute inpatient psychiatric unit. The artists´workshops, with patients and staff, include initiating sleep dairies, alongside video projections, pinhole camera and painting workshops. The themes will be sleep/dreams/moods/creativity, and time, and the patients/staff relationships to them. They will investigate Kristeva´s texts, in particular, Women´s Time (1979) and Revolution in Poetic Language (1974). Kristeva makes the point that female subjectivity seems linked to both cyclical time (menstruation/pregnancy/repetition) and monumental time in sense of eternity (motherhood/reproduction/genetic chain). Extremely potent, considering that some patients are suffering from postnatal depression. The research also explores "psychological resonance", a particular part of the creative process that conjures up the idea of movement between something experienced (object) and it´s impact on the individual (subject).

Heald and Liggett are collaborating on ideas relating to a "space" a "in-between-ness" and "cyclical time". Heald's "dream films" create ambient environments, where the audience is unsure as to whether one is asleep or awake, or perhaps even in a state of "in-between-ness". Liggett found "in-between-ness" relates to the stage in the creative process where the artists in her research could not articulate in words exactly what they were intending in their work. The dream state described as occupying "in-between-ness" could also be akin to "psychological resonance", the movement between "sites' or 'states of being', that exists, but are intangible and difficult to articulate. Exploring Winnicott (1994) and Witkin (1974) Liggett suggests that there are three areas of related experience, the subjective, the objective and what Winnicott calls 'potential space'. This 'potential space' Liggett sees as having similarities to "in-between-ness".

Heald and Liggett will present their concepts/ongoing work with the patients/staff, drawing on ideas relating to audiences, culminating in a joint exhibition at the hospital in 2010.