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Tan, KS., 2018.

#MagicCarpet tapestry art exhibition, Arts in Mind Festival

Output Type:Exhibition
Venue:Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience
Dates:4/6/2018 - 25/6/2018
Number of Works:1

OVERVIEW: Kai's tapestry (2.9m X 1.45m, cotton, wool) I Run and Run, Let Out an Earth Shattering Roar, and Turn into a Giant Octopussy for #MagicCarpet, was exhibition on its 'invisible loom' for the first time in June 2018, as part of the Arts in Mind Festival of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN). The world-leading IoPPN has been fundamentally changing and shaping how we understand, prevent and treat mental illness and other conditions that affect the brain. The legacy, ethos and drive of the IoPPN has ensured its position at the forefront of mental health care, redefining mental illness, its treatment and its place in society. The tapestry is part of Kai's award-winning art-psychiatry commission #MagicCarpet (2017-2019). The invisible loom, made in perspex, was designed by the women-run Studio LW Furniture in London, illustrating #MagicCarpet's continued commitment to working with women, BAME and neurodivergent people. The tapestry can otherwise be 'activated' when it is placed on the floor and sat on by people from diverse backgrounds, to talk about our minds and brains and the different ways we think about them. Other activities that #MagicCarpet participated in included a film exhibition and participatory art activity at the South London Gallery.

MEDIA: The event was covered in South London Press, and reviewed in Arts in Mind in The Psychologist (The British Psychological Society), 31, pp.68-69, by participant Sushank Chibber, in an article by Dr Sally Marlow, Public Engagement Fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), King's College London. Kai was also interviewed on Resonance FM.

REVIEWS: 100% of the feedback was positive. They included: 'Many thanks for taking part in our festival. Your carpet is magic.' 'Thank you so much for the great workshop yesterday. Kai was so charismatic and engaging, the children loved her. Don't forget us next year!''I have found my family' and 'Beautiful experience'. Says Chibber: 'Your event was so innovative and really brought art and science together, two disciplines that are so far-fetched from each other. I learned more about the mind, ADHD and how important art is in navigating various outlets and that was more valuable to me in terms of what I would have learned in a classroom setting'. 'So good to have had intergenerational conversations. Informative + surprising. It was a mind opening experience' 'Beautiful experience'Very fun & engaging! Talking with strangers is nice:)''Helped me talk to others, I am normally an introvert who watches'. Says Professor Philip Asherson: 'It was great talking to the young people. They really treasured their art. I met a young man doing photography GCSE - street pics of Peckham. He seemed really ambitious and working hard. It was great fun to talk to him'.

ARTS IN MIND: Arts in Mind was a week-long festival (June 4-10, 2018) celebrating innovative collaborations between researchers at the IoPPN, and the creative and cultural sector. It showcased work that explores new ways to improve wellbeing and facilitate a better understanding of mental health, the brain and the mind. The creative producer was Ruth Garde, who previously worked at the Wellcome Trust for 16 years.

TAPESTRY: The tapestry was weaved at Flanders Tapestry, which also weaved the tapestries of artists Grayson Perry, Laure Prouvost and others. Large, overcrowded, over the top and overworked, #MagicCarpet flits in and out of reason, legibility and consciousness. It explores mind wandering through the kaleidoscope of time - out of, attuned to, in, without, suspending, prolonging, foreshortening, distorting, travelling, rolling, running out of. It is also a safari of mind wandering beasts/domesticated pets, of pixels, of tactility, of palimpsests, of sex, of death, of mortality, of immortality, of sweat. There is Basquiat as there is Beckett, Kathy Acker, Hokusai and My Little Pony. Grotesque as it is tender, the tapestry is light and flighty as it is weighed down by gravity and the pungency of being alive. The tapestry references what Kai learnt during the residency, as well as to Rene Magritte's famous Time Transfixed, as an example of how the arts celebrates the wanderings of the mind. The image is itself a snapshot of the artist's restless and busy mind. She is depicted sitting on a rug, making drawings on iPad, in a reference to her own process of creating this image which is her first in 20 years. Close by is a woman also with a digital device, this time a laptop. This is mathematician Ada Lovelace, who worked with Charles Babbage on his early prototype of the computer (the Analytical Engine), which was inspired by the Jacquard loom. Her taking centrestage in this image thus not only celebrates her status as the figurehead for women in science, but reminds us that the 'digital' refers not only to computers, but how it relates to the craft of weaving and hence how these, like our toes and fingers, are extensions of the magical human body and mind.

#MAGICCARPET in ARTS IN MIND: Tan's 1.5 year Arts Council England funded Unlimited commission, #MagicCarpet, took part in the Arts in Mind Festival in 4 ways: 

1) 3-week long exhibition of the tapestry art (2.9mX1.45m) on bespoke 'invisible loom' designed by the women-run Studio LW Furniture, at the IoPPN. 

2) 'Speed-dating'  South London Gallery. Members of the public 'speed-dated' experts in the arts and mind: Professor of Psychiatry and adult ADHD expert Philip Asherson (Social, Genetic and developmental Psychiatry Centre SGDP); arts: Dr Cecilia Wee (Artsadmin); live art: Dr Daniel Oliver (Queen Mary University of London),  ADHD: Consultant Dr Ulrich Müller and UKAAN Committee Member Jane Sedgwick, and visual art: Dr Kai Syng Tan (SGDP). We were joined by young people aged 14-21, as the evening is part of the SLG's youth forum, the Art Assassins who were working on their year-long project The Peckham Experiment: A Centre for Self-organisation. 

3) A new short film made by #MagicCarpet's Michael Larsson (Sweden), Philip Tan (Singapore) and Kai was also launched that evening. 

4) Badge-making workshop for 8 year-old school children from the local Lyndhurst Primary School.