7 September–13 October 2019
Every Thought There Ever Was
An exhibition by Lindsay Seers
Venue: Courthouse 88 Arbroath High Street
Preview: Friday 6 September, 6-8pm
Opening times: Thurs – Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 11am-4pm
Artist’s Talk by Lindsay Seers: Saturday 7 September, Webster Memorial Theatre, 2pm booking advised here
Using the former Courthouse building in Arbroath’s Town Centre for the second time, Hospitalfield is co-commissioner of a new work by UK-based artist Lindsay Seers, Every Thought There Ever Was. Through the use of digital animation, robotics, film, drawing and sound design the artist has created a complex and layered environment that explores a world experienced differently.
Every Thought There Ever Was reflects on the extraordinary brain functioning that occurs in schizophrenia. The art work is layered with intense subjective experiences relating to the historic and contemporary understanding of hallucination and psychosis. When you enter the rooms of the Courthouse, film screens themselves become robotic protagonists within the work, they move with digital images of faces and creatures; coloured lights animate sculptures; a dense audio-track from seven channels seems to be both inside and outside of the viewer’s head.
A driving force behind the installation is a treatment known as Avatar Therapy, a patient specific digital treatment, developed in 2008 by psychiatrist Professor Julian Leff, whose aspiration was to help relieve the onslaught of denigrating voices that can occur in the condition of paranoid schizophrenia. The art work has been shaped by conversations with Professor Leff and scientific partners including Anil Seth Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex and Chris Frith, Emeritus and Professor of Neuropsychology, UCL to explore the current developments of neuroscientific thought on the collapse of hallucination and reality so evident in the condition.
Pursuing her ongoing fascination with how an individual’s biography embodies history, Seers uses the words of iconic figures such as artist Richard Dadd, minister George Trosse and Victorian surgeon James Miranda Barry alongside meetings and drawing exchanges with living protagonists. Drawing acted as a catalyst to consider the overall shape of the work, whose fundamental drive is to question the boundary between imagination, hallucination and the so called real in contemporary society and the spectral mediums we communicate through.
Every Thought There Ever Was is supported by a grant from Wellcome and is co-commissioned by the MAC, Belfast; Matt’s Gallery, London; Focal Point Gallery, Southend-On-Sea; Hospitalfield, Arbroath; and John Hansard Gallery, Southampton. The exhibition is part of a programme led by Hospitalfield for the Angus Place Partnership supported by Creative Scotland.
Arbroath Courthouse was unused for four years. During this time the Courthouse Community Trust formed to secure an Asset Transfer for the community use of the building. Natural Selection by Andy Holden and Peter Holden in April – May 2019 was the first public and cultural use of the building. Use of the Courthouse has been facilitated by the Scottish Courts with support of The Courthourse Community Trust.
Talks, tours and events
Saturday 7 September, 2pm
Artist’s talk by Lindsay Seers
Venue: Webster Memorial Theatre
An opportunity to hear Lindsay Seers talk through her practice and journey to the making of the installation ‘Every Thought There Ever Was’, an ambitious project which considers historical representations of schizophrenia and contemporary insights into the condition achieved through the use of virtual reality. Lindsay’s talk will be followed by a Q&A.
Saturday 14 & Sunday 15 September, 11am – 12.30pm
Join artist Emily Furneaux on a performative journey that draws on Furneaux’s own experiences of slipping into a state of psychosis in 2015, on the day of her 30th birthday, as she unearthed a Chicago in Glasgow free from monetary constraints.
Weaving external observations with personal encounters, obsessions and endeavours, the walk starts from the Courthouse connecting ‘Every Thought There Ever Was’ to Hospitalfield’s Open Weekend. There will be a chance to view Lindsay Seers’ exhibition before the walk departs at 11.30am.
Every Friday 13, 20, 27 September & 4, 11 October, 2pm
Venue: Courthouse welcome space
Join us in the welcome and engagement space for a different discussion and activity each week. Talk about the themes and share experiences of the exhibition. Guided by different practitioners and hosts in a friendly and supportive space.
Just turn up.
Saturday 28 September, 2pm
‘Richard Dadd: Exacting Fantasies’
A talk by curator and writer Nicholas Tromans
Venue: Hospitalfield House, Westway, Arbroath
This talk discusses the life and work of the Victorian asylum artist Richard Dadd (1817-1886), an early friend of Patrick Allan Fraser. After a highly successful early career as a painter of literary subjects, Dadd undertook an ambitious tour of the Eastern Mediterranean in 1842-43. On his return Dadd fell into mental illness and spent the remainder of his career in secure hospitals. The talk will ask how far Dadd was able to continue working as an artist despite his illness, and will examine changing attitudes towards his art since his death.
Saturday 28 September & 5 October
10.30am – 11.30am, 12pm – 1pm, 2pm – 3pm, 3.30pm – 4.30pm
Digital Stories Drop in with Dan Brown from MASH Cinema
Venue: Courthouse welcome space
Listen to yourself. What are you saying? What does your inner voice sound like? Is it supportive and encouraging or negative and undermining? Has it got a mind of it’s own? Share your thoughts and experiences in our diary room and be part of a collaborative piece of moving image that aims to explore our relationship with internal dialogue.
Ages 11yrs +, booking required
Friday 11 October, 10am-12pm
Free Drawing School with Laura Darling
Venue: Courthouse welcome space
Learn and experiment with drawing and mark-making techniques to create multi-layered visual narratives, focusing on Seers’ ‘complex and layered environment’.
All materials supplied. Age 14+, Free, Drop in
Artist Lindsay Seers works in London and lives on the Isle of Sheppey. She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London (BA Hons, Sculpture and Media 1991-94) and at Goldsmiths College, University of London (MA Fine Art 1999-2001), where she now works as a lecturer on MA Fine Art (0.2).
Seers is best known for video installations that explore complex philosophical ideas through elliptical stories. In her moving-image work, she uses both factual and theatrical narrative structures to consider evidence, truth and artefact. It is impossible for a viewer to experience Seers’ art works without making their own identifications and associations.
Her works are in a number of collections including Tate collection, Arts Council Collection, Artangel collection and the collection of MONA, Tasmania. She has won several prestigious grants and awards such as the Sharjah Art Foundation Production Award, UAE; Le Jeu de Paume Production Award for the Toulouse Festival, France; the Paul Hamlyn Award; the Derek Jarman Award; AHRC Award; a number of Arts Council and British Council Awards in support of her works and she also received the Wingate Scholarship from The British School at Rome 2007/8. She has shown her large scale works internationally at a number of museums and art centres including SMK (National Gallery of Denmark); Venice Biennale 2015; Hayward Gallery, UK; MONA, Tasmania; Bonniers Konsthall, Sweden; Smart Project Space, Amsterdam; Kiasma, Finland; Turner Contemporary, UK; Tate Triennial, UK, TPW, Canada, Sami Centre for Art; Norway; Centre for Contemporary Art Poland and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.