ATTIC is an organisation and gallery committed to increasing the dialogue surrounding mental illness and to exploring understandings of the wider implications of society’s perception of mental illness and mental health.
Consciousness, spirituality, neurology, genetics and genomics, biology, statistics, psychology, psychiatry, counselling, politics, history, and the wider and fluctuating culturally constructed notions of the self are all aspects of the territory represented by the terms ‘mental health’ and ‘mental illness’. The term mental illness is hemmed in with cliché and narrow association, while actually its connotations are profound.
ATTIC has no agenda other than to provide the space and opportunity for encounters, dialogue and creative expression about mental illness. It is an impartial platform for artistic and intellectual exploration of how emotional distress, cognitive ‘dysfunction’ and ‘madness’ are understood, treated and experienced scientifically, personally and culturally.
ATTIC‘s primary activities will be to explore mental health and mental illness through the curation of fine art exhibitions. However we will be open to working with practitioners of other creative forms: for example literature, music, dance and cinema. It is a central objective of ours that we should enable the development of new creative work as well as providing the support for innovative and informed creative and intellectual exploration of mental illness.
Collaboration, cross disciplinary dialogue, mutual support and honesty is central to ATTIC‘s creative approach and ethos.
We will operate mainly from our gallery space on Albany Road in Cardiff but will also be active outside of this location. ATTIC has particularly been inspired by ideas of the ‘Private and the Public’. Located on the third floor of a building and accessible by an unmarked side entrance, the private and ‘hard to reach’ aspect of ATTIC complements the taboo nature of our subject matter. Highlighting the gallery as a ‘hidden place’ we aim to contrast this with the use of other more open and public spaces to reveal the activities of ATTIC; a deliberate act of disclosure. This act is a commentary on the current move towards reducing the stigma and discrimination of mental illness by drawing the private into the consciousness of the public. This is especially central to our remit because marginalisation is a common experience for individuals with a diagnosis of mental illness. Our activities will raise awareness, provide insight and often operate on an education level.
Documentation is central to our activity and we plan to create publications in response to ATTIC activities. We will also be active online, creating films and podcasts of art, talks and the dialogue we initiate.
On a meta-level ATTIC functions as an artistic collaboration between Julia Thomas and Sara Annwyl. Concerned with dialogue, reciprocity and negotiations of disclosure, their personal art practices embody much of the central concerns of the organisation. The instigation of encounters between professionals from different fields in order to initiate unfamiliar juxtapositions and catalyse new insights will be a part of this shared exploration.