10'/11 artist in residence for new art gallery, walsall - as part of outside in : programme of disability arts residencies with dash (disability arts shropshire) http://www.thenewartgallerywalsall.org.uk/whats-on/event/dash
http://www.thenewartgallerywalsall.org.uk/comment/author/sean-burn/ creating body of work including sound art, film, live art
http://soundcloud.com/burnsean/not-losing-yr-marbles-walsall - soundmapping of walsall. work was reclaiming the languages of lunacy
09 shortlisted for dadafest award for body of work (including bastilles englan, wings are giving out and next swan) creatively tackling mental distress
films in more detail. (receiving collectively dozens of screenings worldwide)
ayler. 7 minutes. rev 2009. www.vimeo.com/7595713
albert ayler was at the forefront of free improvisation in the 1960s, his untimely death and his brothers incarceration in a psychiatric institution brought this fragile flowering to an abrupt end, though his recordings mean he is not silenced. this is contrasted with a nadir of that same culture – the u.s. funding of the contras and their attempted destruction of the nicaraguan peoples via an illegal and immoral war something that needs remembering in this 30th year of the sandinista revolution. ayler was premièred in munich and has since been shown in wolverhampton, naoussa, greece, gaza, palestine gießen, germany and leeds
cracking up. 1'53''. 2011c.e. http://www.vimeo.com/20374244
excerpt from cracking up - a durational performance by gobscure. i repeatedly crack open walnuts using only my left hand and offer the nut flesh up to audiences. this is intended as a small but cumulative and defiant tribute to those not making it thru the mental health system. this was made as part of my outside in residency with the new art gallery walsall in association with dash (disability arts shropshire)
d/rift. 1'15''. 2011c.e. http://vimeo.com/20373827
animation of visual poetry reclaimed from the streets of walsall as part of my major residency there 'reclaiming the languages of lunacy.'
firing the can(n)on. 4'59''. 2015. https://vimeo.com/122101274
commissioned by dash for their awkward bastards symposium on diversity in arts, mac, birmingham, 12/3/15. this is a filmic response as to why disability arts is missing from the tate modern timeline of artists movements.
melancholi-aaaaah or melancholi-aaaaaggh? 0'55''. 2010. http://vimeo.com/14031897
was standing in front of gavin turks melancholia in walsall and it struck me - is it melancholi-aaaaah or melancholi-aaaaaggh? its supposed to be the aaaaah - mild swoon artistic melancholy and this is something that persists in the medical profession despite the four temperaments being long out of date. doctors would like to line up all 61 million on this island of the edge and walk down the line - a nice neat continuum - and at some point we would move from well to unwell, from not depressed to depressed - i.e. melancholic and then further into melancholia. only - for me - its not a continuum its falling off a cliff. theres a gulf. a huge precipice. and so my take is melancholiaaaagggh definitely. made a wee electronic flip book complete with sound to demonstrate. part of my major residency at walsall 'reclaiming the languages of lunacy'.
not losing yr marbles. 2'. 2011. http://vimeo.com/19972926 walsall is being kept in balance by my helpfulness in not allowing these marbles to get lost - part of my major residency at walsall 'reclaiming the languages of lunacy'.
or mal. 7'25''. 2010 c.e. www.vimeo.com/15580513
this is another performance to camera produced as part of my year-long disability artists residency reclaiming the languages of lunacy with the new art gallery walsall and dash (disability arts shropshire)
our ordinary map. 2 minutes 25 seconds. revised 2009 www.vimeo.com/8955376
our ordinary map uses culture-jamming to subvert those messages insisting we buy into narratives i don't recognise - specifically those psychiatric 'professionals' who control the narrative, denying the reality of those of us who actually go thru it. since 2006 this film has had many screenings across europe, as well as at tate modern and national film theatre studios, london. our ordinary map formed part of tattooing lorca - a poetic and personal exploration of long-term mental distress and recovery which first toured as a multimedia disability arts work in 2005/6. the full text of this is included in wings are giving out - gobscure's third collection from skrev press (www.skrevpress.com / isbn 978-1-904646-56-3)
sabled. 2'40''. 2013. https://vimeo.com/82036184
cut-ups (textual and spoken) examining the word disabled; a small part of how i spent my time as artist in residence with celf, central wales.
seven short films about madness. (work in progress/forthcoming).
after my recent heart attack and two op's (seven stents fitted to three blocked arteries by the ever-wonderful nhs no matter what lies the tories spit on them) i felt ever-more vulnerable, learning to go slow - not being able to demonstrate against pegida for example. for a while it seemed each thing i worked on might be my last, concentrating the mind. i kept returning to a number of short gestures that sum up aspects of mental health i have used repeatedly in live performance across england / wales / scotland. so heres a series of seven short films of what was on my mind. & yeah i know we're onto dsm-v (twice the size of dsm iv-r glimpsed in one of the films) but i cant afford a new one right now. the title credits show the bruised arm (plus old scarring) from where the stents were inserted before being piloted to my heart. the film is in the words of b.s. johnson ' a celebration of the accidental'. the soundscape is an original, new and subtly repetitive electroacoustic composition that will make compelling radio in its own right. it references gobscure's history as a mental health service user / system survivor as well as his ongoing lifetime work of 'reclaiming the languages of lunacy'. he's recorded seven days worth of psychiatric medicine-taking - the whole ritual of running the tap, filling a drinking cup with water; opening the tablet drawer; taking out each blister pack (four in the morning, four at night) - popping the tablets out; swallowing them; putting the blisterpacks away and closing the drawer, plus pouring out any excess water. over the top of this as subtle 'glitches' will be lightly processed elements of this location sound recording. the next layer will be occasional interjections relating to e.g. 'barking' - the subtle sounds of bark / 'screw-loose' and the beautiful sound of screws being dropped / 'cracking up' and 'nuts' and the sounds of walnuts etc. these will be subtle interventions, most of the soundscape being made out of the repetitions/rituals of medicine-taking. the final comment over the top of this soundscape will be a simple elegiac statement from gobscure (possibly sung) that shows he has transcended all this - e.g. 'those of us who have learnt to love our madnesses'.
stealing brecht 3 minutes 43 seconds. 2004. www.vimeo.com/7602418
stealing brecht explores rituals of healing and asks how we can create moments of hope and compassion in the face of oppression. i remember first engaging with human rights when i was around 13. this was via a series of short films featuring specific cases of human rights abuses from across countries and cultures highlighted by amnesty international. what brought it home more was that due to chronic mental-ill health which first manifested itself around then i was taken to an adolescent psychiatric unit & detained there, building a bridge between my own oppression and others.the film was created thanks to a medialab pva residency and has received 25 screenings in 7 countries across europe. it is also part of red voice cycle of monologues. (see theatre and publication).
turn the book around. 1' 42''. rev 2009. http://vimeo.com/10239180
too many victims, and not just historically - go silent no longer, the book of your lives unread, instead turn the book around. this film, like the rest of my work is about giving voice, allowing the silent/silenced to speak and giving voice to these these creative alternatives, these strategies for survival. this work is no abstraction about the holocaust, disabled through long-term mental illness i am another of those hitler would have tried exterminating had i lived during the nazi era - something we must remember as many hatreds are again on the rise. (in memory of disabled victims of the nazis t4 aktion campaign)
soundworks. in more detail
bastilles englan. 2009. 15'. https://soundcloud.com/burnsean/bastilles-englan-by-sean-burn bastilles englan is a major new disability arts work premiered at platform 0000008. part performance, provocation and reclamation and wholly an exploration of escaping asylums and subsequent journeyings towards fragile freedoms - its starting point was radical poet john clare's imprisonment for 'delusions' in 1837, asylum break out four-and-a-half years later and five day walk home to freedom. the title derives from a letter in which clare wrote of the asylum he was then in 'i think it is about two years since i was first sent up in this hell and french bastille of english liberty'. bastilles englan has toured england / wales and czech republic. this is the recording of the text and soundscape that accompanies the performance. the text has just been published in gobscure's third and latest collection of poetry - is that a bruise or a tattoo? - available now from shearsman press
coming down off the mountain , i'm coming down. 2'20''. rev 2011.
a creative audio work that examines gobscure's living with psychosis. it formed part of life of the mind group exhibition at the new art gallery walsall, 2011 and is now int he permanent collection there
not losing yr marbles walsall. 7'28''. 2011.
soundmap of walsall and reclamation of the languages of lunacy. part of my residency with the new art gallery walsall in association with dash. http://soundcloud.com/burnsean/not-losing-yr-marbles-walsall
redvoice. a sequence of seven monologues about aspects of my mental ill-health written for the door, birmingham rep for their beyond the boundaries festival, 2004.
redvoice monologue https://audioboo.fm/boos/1753620-red-voice-title-monologue-in-the-sequence-by-sean-burn
stealing brecht monologue. https://audioboo.fm/boos/1753596-stealing-brecht-from-red-voice-by-sean-burn
give me lithium or give me death. https://audioboom.com/boos/2946744-give-me-lithium-or-give-me-death-by-sean-burn
feel the burn https://audioboom.com/boos/2946822-feel-the-burn-by-sean-burn
kathy with the whether https://audioboom.com/boos/2946906-heres-kathy-with-the-whether-by-sean-burn
neocortex rage https://audioboom.com/boos/2946859-neocortex-rage-by-sean-burn