Madlove: A Designer Asylum, with the vacuum cleaner

The Vacuum Cleaner and Hannah Hull’s Madlove – Designer Asylum, 2016,
Design by Benjamin Koslowski,
Image credit – Wellcome 

It ain’t no bad thing to need a safe place to go mad. The problem is that a lot of environments are more punishment than love… they need some Madlove.

Is it possible to go mad in a positive way? How would you create a safe place in which to do so? If you designed your own asylum, what would it be like?

The desire is to find a positive space to experience mental distress… and enlightenment.

The project is bringing together people with and without mental health experiences, mental health professionals and academics, artists and designers – and everyone else on the spectrum.

This internal workshop and subsequent public talk with artist, the vacuum cleaner, will explore our role as Open School East Associates, artists, and the wider community, asking, ‘What do people with mental health disabilities need to make their experiences safe?’. Organised and facilitated by Associate Lottie McCarthy.

Part 1: Monday 17 January

A Madlove workshop for the OSE Staff, Associates, Young Associates, invites participants on a journey to think about mental health and care in a utopian way. We will ask people to design a ‘safe place to go mad’, to challenge the current social and medical perception of mental health, through a playful, imaginative, and positive process.

Part 2: Wednesday 26 January, 5-6pm

On Wednesday 26 January we will be hosting a public talk on James’ Madlove work, including the specific outcomes of the previous workshop.

About the artist

The vacuum cleaner is the name of a UK based artist who makes candid, provocative and playful art about the world being messed up.

The vacuum cleaner wants to find better ways to go mad.  Drawing on his own experience of mental health disability, he works with groups including young people, health professionals and vulnerable adults to challenge how mental health is understood, treated and experienced. With roots in activism and radical art, the vacuum cleaner has created one-man interventions and large-scale actions as well as performance, installation and film.  His work has been shown in galleries, theatres, hospitals and schools and has appeared on streets and in public spaces internationally – recent project partners include Wellcome Collection, Chisenhale Gallery, Manchester International Festival and Greater London Authority. the vacuum cleaner is James Leadbitter.  He works from his Margate studio with his dog, Doris.