How do I perceive a mentally ill person? What disturbs me when I think about madness?

With and without them is a self-portrait, a video document of my dilemmas, doubts, and optimism.

In the form of a video diary, each day after coming out of the hospital, in front of the camera in an improvised studio, I noted down my experience of being and associating with schizophrenic patients of the men’s ward for integral psychiatry.  I wanted to talk about the quandaries, the doubts, optimism, prejudices and questions that agitated me in talking with the patients, analyse my own procedures and reactions during these trips to the hospital over a period of three weeks.

The diary video is structured into six subtitles. The viewer can follow six stories concurrently on six screens, in a loop, immersed in a cacophony that requires exceptional attention and effort for an understanding of the contents.  During the conversations with the patients I was often in the situation when I had to try to talk with several of them at once, attempting unsuccessfully to shape the chaos of sound into a constructive story.

Gajski and I

Duration: 10’19”

In this story I tell of how in a short period of time I became emotionally attached to one of the patients.

I wanted it this way

Duration: 06’57”

I thought it essential to have a method of work with the patients. I tried to put it into effect the first day, but gave up at once.

Madness Madness

Duration: 8’38”

Going to the hospital and associating with the schizophrenia patients, I wanted to understand their illness, and myself… and try to talk about it.

He asked me to…

Duration: 14’06”

Referring to a few selected examples, I talk about how I got entangled in performing or not performing some minor or major favours.

With them

During: 12’30”

About the part played by instinct, building trust, about fear and speaking the truth. How to be myself at the same time as being with them.

With them and without them

Duration: 12’02”

I wanted the patients whose company I was in to be present in the work.  How could I do this, while at the same time shielding their identities?

Produced of the Vrapče Psychiatric Hospital in Zagreb for Festival Extravagant Bodies: Extravagant  Minds

(art and body mental health),  2010

Author: Amela Frankl

Camera, editing, postproduction: Miran Krčadinac

Translation: Graham McMaster

Production: Container | Bureau for Contemporary Art Practice, Zagreb