The Directors

Marcus Coates

London
04 September 2022 - 30 October 2022

The Directors

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It’s art to shock and shake you, art to give people a voice. And it’s brilliant. ★★★★★ Time Out

The Directors is a collaboration between artist Marcus Coates and five individuals in recovery from different lived experiences of psychosis. Positioned behind the camera, each of them directs Coates in a filmed restaging of particular episodes from their lives.

Following extensive research and discussion, the five short films challenge cultural stigma through an attempt to understand  different realities. Each director chose a location of personal significance where they filmed Coates embodying and performing their own experiences.

The five short films were screened across five locations in Pimlico, in and around the Churchill Gardens Estate, each within a short walking distance of the other.

They were presented in London from 4 September – 30 October, alongside a contextual programme of talks and workshops to encourage open public discussion around the nation’s mental health.

The five films now form part of the Artangel Collection, available to be shared across the UK and beyond.


Image: Still from The Directors: Mark, Marcus Coates (2022)

World Mental Health Day 2023

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To mark World Mental Health Day on Tuesday 10 October 2023, King’s College London will host a free public screening of one of the films, The Directors: Marcus, followed by a panel discussion between the artist Marcus Coates, the director Marcus Gordon, with contributions from clinicians and experts in psychiatry. The event is the flagship event of a programme featuring all five films in the series for King's students and faculty and will draw on the themes of World Mental Health Day 2023, which focuses on the duty of society to promote good mental health as a universal human right. The events are ticketed and free to the public.

 


The Directors: Marcus

Free public screening
Tuesday 10 October, 17:30 – 19:00 BST (Denmark Hill campus)

Screening + panel discussion exploring themes of stigma, and public attitudes towards psychosis. Speakers include Marcus Coates, Artist, Marcus Gordon, Director, Dr Isabel Valli, Psychiatrist and Neuroscientist, and Dr Preety Das, Medical Psychotherapist and Psychiatrist. This session is chaired by Sally Marlow, Professor of Practice in Public Understanding of Mental Health Research. 


The Directors: Mark

Free public screenings
Tuesday 10 October, 19:00 – 20:30 BST (Guy’s campus)

Screening + panel discussion exploring the role of art and filmmaking as a powerful tool to unlock new perspectives into mental health conditions. Speakers include Mark Banham, Director, Stephen Rudder, Audiovisual Artist and Psychodynamic Psychotherapist and Sotiris Posporelis, Consultant Liaison Neuropsychiatrist and chaired by Sophie Leighton, Director, Bethlem Gallery.


Image: Still from The Directors: Marcus, Marcus Coates (2022).

About Marcus Coates

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Marcus Coates

Marcus Coates lives and works in London. Through his attempts to become animal, to his vicarious experiences on behalf of people, his work offers an inquiry into the degrees to which we can understand, know and relate to others. Often performative – using a process of radical empathy as a motivation to create, examine and critique relational tools – he tests actual and perceived boundaries between individuals, within communities, and with other species. New ways of relating are proposed and often put into practice. His approach is often functional with a social and ecological impact in mind.

Coates has collaborated with people from a wide range of disciplines including anthropologists, ornithologists, wildlife sound recordists, choreographers, politicians, psychiatrists, palliative care consultants, musicians, and primatologists amongst others.

His recent exhibitions include: The Limits of Humanity, Musée de l’Homme, Paris, 2021; The World is in You, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, 2021; Joseph Beuys and the Shamans, Museum Schloss Moyland, Bedburg-Hau, Germany 2021; The Animal that therefore I am, OCAT Institute, Beijing, China, 2020; The Land We Live In, The Land We Left Behind, Hauser & Wirth Somerset 2018; Functional Improvisation with percussionist Terry Day, William Morris Museum, 2017; As Above, So Below, IMMA, Dublin, 2017; Ape Culture, HKW Berlin, 2015; The Trip, Serpentine Gallery, London and Implicit Sound, Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, 2011; Psychopomp, Milton Keynes Gallery, 2010; Marcus Coates, Kunsthalle, Zurich, Switzerland, 2009.

Find out more at www.marcuscoates.co.uk


Image: (left) Still from The Directors: Mark, Marcus Coates (2022).

The Directors: Mark

27 minutes and 16 seconds 
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The Directors: Mark

Directed by: Mark Banham

Format: Single channel HD video on loop, projection

Running Time: 27 minutes, 16 seconds 

After his film was shot, Mark interviewed Marcus Coates on set capturing the artist's immediate reflections on his experience.  Watch on Vimeo or YouTube.

Listen to Mark's thoughts and feelings on the process of production on SoundCloud here. Read the transcript here


Image: Still from The Directors: Mark, Marcus Coates (2022).

The Directors: Lucy

21 minutes and 24 seconds
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The Directors: Lucy

Directed by: Lucy Dempster

Format: Single channel HD video on loop, projection

Running Time: 21 minutes, 24 seconds

After each film was shot, Artangel's Associate Director Michael Morris interviewed Marcus Coates on set capturing the artist's immediate reflections on his experience. Watch on Vimeo or YouTube.

Listen to Lucy's thoughts and feelings on the process of production on SoundCloud here. Read the transcript here.


Image: Still from The Directors: Lucy, Marcus Coates (2022).

The Directors: Anthony

25 minutes and 18 seconds
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The Directors: Anthony 

Directed by: Anthony Donohoe 

Format: Single channel HD video on loop, projection

Running Time: 25 minutes, 18 seconds 

After each film was shot, Artangel's Associate Director Michael Morris interviewed Marcus Coates on set capturing the artist's immediate reflections on his experience. Watch on Vimeo or YouTube.

Listen to Anthony's thoughts and feelings on the process of production on SoundCloud here. Read the transcript here


Image: Still from The Directors: Anthony, Marcus Coates (2022).

The Directors: Marcus

16 minutes and 51 seconds
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The Directors: Marcus 

Directed by: Marcus Gordon

Format: Single channel HD video on loop, projection

Running Time: 16 minutes, 51 seconds 

After each film was shot, Artangel's Associate Director Michael Morris interviewed Marcus Coates on set capturing the artist's immediate reflections on his experience. Watch on Vimeo or YouTube.

Listen to Marcus' thoughts and feelings on the process of production on SoundCloud here. Read the transcript here.


Image: Still from The Directors: Marcus, Marcus Coates (2022).

The Directors: Stephen

16 minutes and 57 seconds
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The Directors: Stephen

Directed by: Stephen Groves

Format: Single channel HD video on loop, projection

Running Time: 16 minutes, 57 seconds 

Just after each film was shot,  Artangel's Associate Director Michael Morris interviewed Marcus Coates on set capturing the artist's immediate reflections on his experience.  Watch on Vimeo or YouTube.

Listen to Stephen's thoughts and feelings on the process of production on SoundCloud here. Read the transcript here


Image: Still from The Directors: Stephen, Marcus Coates (2022).

What's Going On?

A collection of research, resources and conversations
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The films are proving to be a vital resource for practitioners in the clinical, educational and legal fields, as well as for parents and carers. — Marcus Coates

What's Going On?

What's Going On? is a resources hub created to highlight and share The Directors and associated background materials for free as an educational resource: for example, in judicial, medical, psychiatric and other health care settings. It will continue to be updated with research, resources and conversations. 

Explore the What's Going On? resources hub here.


 

What's Going On? is produced by Artangel with special thanks to James Brett, Robert Devereux, Gerry Fox and those who wish to remain anonymous.

Artangel is generously supported using public funding by Arts Council England, and by the private patronage of The Artangel International Circle, Special Angels, and The Company of Angels.

Marcus Coates & The Directors: In Conversation

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Marcus Coates & The Directors: In Conversation

A recording of Marcus Coates in conversation with the five directors, discussing each film and their experiences. The conversation was moderated by writer and psychologist Professor Charles Fernyhough.

Recorded on Tuesday 30 August 2022 at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in Peckham.

Listen to the conversations and read the transcripts here.

Also available to listen to on Soundcloud

Recorded and edited by House of Noise.


Image: Still from The Directors: Anthony Donohoe, Marcus Coates (2022).

Is Anyone Out There Listening?

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Is Anyone Out There Listening?

On Thursday 22 October 2022 Femi Oyebode and Fiona Malpass came together to discuss social inequality, neglect, adversity and isolation in relation to psychosis and general mental health. The talk was moderated by Akiko Hart and was followed by an audience Q&A. 

Recorded at Pimlico Academy.

Listen to the recording on SoundCloud.


Akiko Hart

Akiko Hart is the CEO of NSUN, the National Survivor User Network. She is also the Chair of ISPS UK, which advocates for social and psychological approaches to psychosis, and a Trustee of National Voices, a coalition of health and social care charities. She has been appointed a Professor in Practice at the University of Durham, and sits on the Advisory Board of the Institute for Medical Humanities

Femi Oyebode

Femi Oyebode is Honorary Professor of Psychiatry, University of Birmingham. His books include Mindreadings: Literature & Psychiatry, Madness at the Theatre, Sims’ Symptoms in the Mind: Textbook of Descriptive Psychopathology and Psychopathology of Rare and Unusual Syndromes. 

Fiona Malpass  

Fiona Malpass is a psychology graduate and mental health activist, who uses her personal experiences to inform her work. She is currently the Hearing Voices Project Manager at Mind in Camden. She has worked in a variety of mental health settings, including inpatient psychiatric units and several mental health charities. 


Image: Still from The Directors: Lucy, Marcus Coates (2022).

Advisory Group

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Advisory Group

7 experts in the field of psychosis supported the research and development of The Directors. 

Listed in alphabetical order, they include Peter Bullimore, Dr Jacqui Dillon, Professor Charles Fernyhough, Laura E. Fischer, Professor David Harper, Jo Loughran, and Dr Isabel Valli.

Peter Bullimore

Peter is a voice hearer who spent ten years as a psychiatric patient. He recovered through learning holistic approaches and with support from the Hearing Voices Network. Peter now teaches on hearing voices and paranoia internationally, facilitates a support group in Sheffield, runs a training and consultancy agency, and is a founding member of the Paranoia Network. He teaches at the University of Manchester where he is also carrying out research into collaborative working between voluntary sector organisations and the university, and what recovery means from a service user’s perspective.

Dr Jacqui Dillon

Dr Jacqui Dillon is a respected activist, writer and speaker, and has lectured and published worldwide on trauma, abuse, psychosis, dissociation and healing. Jacqui is the national Chair of the Hearing Voices Network in England, Honorary Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of East London, Visiting Research Fellow at The Centre for Community Mental Health, Birmingham City University and a member of the Advisory Board, The Collaborating Centre for Values-Based Practice in Health and Social Care, St Catherine’s College, Oxford University. Jacqui has co-edited 3 books and has published numerous articles and papers, is on the editorial board of the journal Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches and the founder of the Beck Road Alliance (BRA) which exists to support survivors of organised childhood sexual abuse on Beck Road, Hackney, and all survivors everywhere, to share their testimonies of surviving childhood sexual abuse. In 2017, Jacqui was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Psychology by the University of East London.

Professor Charles Fernyhough

Charles is a writer and psychologist. His non-fiction book about his daughter’s psychological development, The Baby in the Mirror, was published by Granta in 2008. His book on autobiographical memory, Pieces of Light (Profile, 2012) was shortlisted for the 2013 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books. His latest non-fiction book, The Voices Within, is published by Profile/Wellcome Collection in the UK and by Basic Books (2016) in the US. He is the editor of Others (Unbound, 2019), an anthology exploring how books and literature can show us other points of view, with net profits supporting refugee and anti-hate charities. Charles has also written for numerous publications, consulted on theatre productions and supported the development of countless TV and radio series'. He is a part-time Professor of Psychology at Durham University, where he leads the interdisciplinary Hearing the Voice project, investigating the phenomenon of auditory verbal hallucinations. He has published more than a hundred peer-reviewed journal articles on topics such as inner speech, memory and child development.

Laura E. Fischer

Laura is an Artist, Researcher, Lecturer, and Mental Health Activist who specialises in trauma. A key focus of her work is on the neuropsychological and neurophysiological correlates of childhood trauma and the development of novel creative body-based and survivor-led interventions. Through her art practice, she creates spaces for trauma survivors to reclaim and redefine their narratives on their own terms. She is an Honorary Research Associate of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience, an Honorary Research Associate of UCL’s Division of Psychiatry, an Improvement Leader Fellow and Honorary Research Fellow of NIHR ARC NWL, a Special Lecturer at UCL and Central Saint Martins, and she is on the Editorial Board of QI4U and the Editorial Advisory Board of The Lancet Psychiatry. She has published articles and book chapters, has facilitated workshops and given numerous talks, including keynotes and TEDx, and her artwork and films have been exhibited internationally, at venues including the V&A, the Whitechapel Gallery, and the BFI, and some of her work is in the Central Saint Martins Museum Collection. 

Professor David Harper

David is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of East London (UEL). He is a clinical psychologist who worked in mental health services in the North West for nearly a decade before moving to UEL in 2000. He completed both his undergraduate psychology degree and postgraduate training in clinical psychology at the University of Liverpool and his PhD (‘Deconstructing Paranoia’) at Manchester Metropolitan University. Since 2014 he has been one of the two Programme Directors of UEL's Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. His co-authored and co-edited book Psychology Mental Health & Distress was a winner of the 2014 British Psychological Society’s book award. He is predominantly a qualitative researcher, developing conceptual and empirical projects from a critical psychology standpoint. His focus is on psychosis (especially paranoia and unusual beliefs), social inequality and mental health, changing attitudes about mental health and investigating how electronic gathering, storage and transmission of personal information is experienced by the public.

Jo Loughran

Jo is a leader and strategic thinkerwith more than a decade of involvement in the UK charity sector, almost all of those years in Rethink Mental Illness in a variety of roles. Jo draws on her specialist knowledge of behaviour change campaigns, mental health anti-stigma programmes and lived experience leadership as Director at Time to Change. Previously in her role She has worked for Rethink Mental Illness for the past 15 years and, as Head of the Children and Young People's programme at Time to Change, she has led the development, from concept to implementation, of England's largest mental health anti-stigma programme for young people aged 11-18 and their parents. With personal experience of mental health problems that began in her teenage years, Jo is passionate about creating an environment where no one feels isolated or ashamed to speak out. She is the founder and Trustee of Nauka, a charity that helps disadvantaged women in Zambia realise their full potential, and a serving Trustee of The McPin Foundation, transforming mental health research by putting the lived experience of people affected by mental health problems at the heart of research methods and the research agenda.

Dr Isabel Valli

Isabel is a psychiatrist and neuroscientist. She is currently Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellow at the University of Barcelona and visiting lecturer in the department of Psychosis Studies at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London. She is a specialist in the treatment of psychosis and has worked as a consultant psychiatrist in first episode psychosis services within the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Her research uses neuroimaging techniques to study the brain mechanisms associated with high-risk states for psychosis and their potential use for the early identification of vulnerable individuals. She has an interest in the arts and has established collaborations with artists and theatre makers for the development of multidisciplinary projects.


Image: Still from The Directors: Anthony, Marcus Coates (2022)

Press

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Perhaps the true lesson of The Directors is in identifying some conditions and tools required for such individual and isolating experiences to be shared and begin to approach a more public understandability. - Adam Hines-Green, Art Review

Selected Press

 

In all of these films, the dominant sense is of inescapability, of these scenarios being permanent. The fear, paranoia, anxiety, isolation and sadness here feel like they’ll last forever. ‘I literally can’t imagine coping with this' says Coates at one point, But people do cope with it, every day, all the time, and they survive. This isn’t easy, pleasant, aesthetic art. It’s not a painting to brighten your living room, or a sculpture for a bank lobby, it’s art to shock and shake you, art to leave you feeling completely ground down, exhausted, worn out, art to give people a voice. And it’s brilliant. – Eddy Frankel, Time Out, 2 September 2022

[Coates] is willing to fall short in his ability to understand and perform, and inevitably does, but these are not failings. To achieve what he has takes trust, when trust in the world, in others and in one’s own perceptions is often lost in psychosis. It also takes time and a willingness for both parties to feel discomfort and be happy to expose it... Perhaps the true lesson of The Directors is in identifying some conditions and tools required for such individual and isolating experiences to be shared and begin to approach a more public understandability. – Adam Hines-Green, Art Review, 18 October 2022

Inspired by a 2017 residency at the psychosis unit of Maudsley Hospital in London, Coates’s effort to embody and express the breadth and complexity of psychosis is, in part, a learning experience. – Simon Ings, New Scientist, 3 September 2022 (paywall)

Returning home by bus after his first visit to Dr Valli's clinic in 2017, Coates writes “I was thinking about the difficulty of everyday life for people experiencing psychosis”, adding that “It made me grateful for my reality, looking at the world and feeling safe and calm. I try not to take it for granted now.” 5 years later, it would be hard for anyone watching The Directors not to feel the same way and not to find more empathy for people going through experiences where reality feels shifted. – Colin Martin, The Lancet Psychiatry, 9 October 2022

In The Artangel Collection

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The Directors

The Directors comprises five short films first shown in five locations in Pimlico, in and around the Churchill Gardens Estate, each within a short walking distance of the other, from 4 September – 30 October, 2022. Anthony was shown at Pimlico Health at The Marven; Lucy in a 5th floor flat of Chaucer House, Churchill Gardens Estate; Marcus at Churchill Gardens Residents' Association; Mark in the antique shop, The Cave and Stephen in the closed restaurant, Pimlico Spice.  

A collaboration between artist Marcus Coates and five individuals in recovery from different lived experiences of psychosis, each of them directs Coates in a filmed restaging of particular episodes from their lives. 


The Directors is now part of The Artangel Collection

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Production Credits

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Production Credits

Producer: Michael Morris

Production Team: Sam Collins, Marina Doritis, Elissavet Ntoulia 

Line Producer, Director of Photography and Editor: Tilly Shiner

Director of Photography: Simon Eaves 

Sound Recordists and Editors: House of Noise 

Grading: Becan Rickard-Elliott

Floor runner: Georgie Joseph

Read the credits for the full cast and crew


Image: Still from The Directors: Stephen, Marcus Coates (2022).

Credits

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Who made this possible?

Credits

The Directors is produced by Artangel and commissioned with Art Fund Support.

Supported by Artangel’s Guardian Angels.

With special thanks to The Executive Producers for their generosity:

Andrew Abdulezer, Martine d’Anglejan-Chatillon, James Brett, Robert Devereux, Gerry Fox, Gabriela Galcerán Ball, Kate MacGarry, Gabrielle Rifkind & Jonathan Levy, The Sigrid Rausing Trust and those who wish to remain anonymous.

Artangel is generously supported using public funding by Arts Council England, and by the private patronage of The Artangel International Circle, Special Angels, and The Company of Angels.


 

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