Women-identified people’s relationship with madness has always been distinct; from the archetypal ‘madwoman in the attic,’ to individual experiences of womxn consumers / survivors / ex-inmates, to the ‘mad’ cultural expectations of femininity in everyday life. Throughout Western history women have been viewed as irrational, their bodies designated as aberrant and posited as the cause of mental disturbances, e.g. hysteria. At the intersections of racialization and transphobia, the confluence of mental illness and femme becomes even more fraught and perilous.
Panic Attack and Regarding the Pain of Others ask questions about how patriarchal capitalism’s expectations of womxn erode their sanity, and how humour and empathy may offer complex ways to subvert them. Originally screened in a gallery context with the viewer atop an exercise bike, Graft and Ash delves deeper into the ways in which productivity culture and white supremacy enact subtle and explicit violence upon Black femme bodies and psyches. I Want to Kill Myself and Better for Me are personal accounts of the deep pain of living through depression and psychosis respectively; gender identity, family and the power of music are threads and lifelines running through them. Trouble is a second-person portrayal whereby the artist’s mother tersely recounts her diagnosis of bipolar disorder and her gratitude for the ability to manage it. Where There is Room to Bloom uses self-love, ancestral knowledge and Black spiritualism to move through multigenerational trauma, and to imagine a new world full of beauty and the psychological space necessary to thrive.
Eileen O’Meara | 2018 | USA | English | 3 minutes
Watching the Pain of Others
Chloé Galibert-Laîné | 2019 | France | French and English with English subtitles | 31 minutes
Camille Pueyo | 2020 | France | French with English subtitles | 3 minutes
Better for Me
Alexandra Douglas | 2020 | Canada | English | 11 minutes
I Want to Kill Myself
Vivek Shraya | 2017 | Canada | English | 9 minutes
Where There is Room to Bloom
Kelisha Daley | 2020 | Canada | English | 7 minutes