Panpsychic Household Solutions: Workshop

26 February, 2013

On February 9th*, I held a workshop to teach people how to simulate insanity with the aim of learning to appreciate domestic tasks. I talked for a little while, explaining my ideas and the techniques we would be using. Everyone spread out in the gallery and spent some time getting to know the floor. Then, I helped the participants choose cleaning materials and drawing implements, and everyone started cleaning. The participants were enthusiastic, and some interesting drawings were created.

*Incidentally, the day before I conducted this workshop, I decided in an overflow of frustration to stop taking my antipsychotic medication. Luckily, at the time of the workshop the withdrawal symptoms hadn't kicked in yet. I was fortunate to have a relatively quick and smooth withdrawal process, and also to have a very supportive partner and stable living situation - many people who live with psychiatric disabilities have neither of these things, and so impulsive choices of the kind I made are much less likely to turn out well. For some people, medication is a life-saver, and withdrawing from it causes only disaster. For me, however, spontaneously withdrawing from antipsychotics remains one of the best decisions I have ever made. [note added in 2020]

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cleaning and art materials laid out on a concrete floor. A young white person with their back to the camera is crouched in the foreground.
Cleaning and art materials used in the workshop
Blurred photo of a young woman washing a concrete floor
A participant cleaning the gallery floor
a cleaning cloth, a piece of printed paper, and a plastic lid with an eye drawn on it
Some of the tools I provided participants for the purposes of cleaning and imagination
a green bucket and a piece of paper on a damp concrete floor, with a person's blurry hands in the corner
Water and paper
a pair of arms with painted fingernails leaning on the floor and drawing. There is a green bucket in the foreground
A participant making a drawing
a wet cloth in a green bucket next to an abstract charcoal drawing on a concrete floor
After cleaning and drawing
a middle aged white woman kneeling on a concrete floor and reading a piece of paper
A participant noticing the floor