The Madufacturing Pyramidox

Performance/Installation by Gallery Gachet Artists for the Steelworkers Association National Policy Conference in 2013

The Madufacturing Pyramidox or The Mad-Factory of Pyra-dox

12 artists from Gallery Gachet engaged and interrogated ideas relating to mental health disability and the relationship to work through the installation and performance presented in,   The Madufacturing Pyradox . at the :Steelworkers Association National Policy Conference in 2013

The central act of this performance was the building of a pyramid structure. Each artist assumed a different role of builder/constructor or destabilizer/de-constructor, and rhythmically assembles and de-assembles the pyramid installation. The pyramid and the process of building it operated as symbols of power/work/ritual/life and death. In the act of creating and destroying, we explored the routine of work as experienced by individuals dealing with mental health (dis)abilities, which can be paradoxically both rewarding and frustrating. Work can provide a necessary outlet for sanity; yet it can also lead to the experience of instability and manifest as illness.

During the performative installation of this project, each of the artists were placed along a metaphorical conveyor belt, each performing/fulfilling a specific role in the constructing or deconstructing of the pyramid. Through costume, symbolic props, and movement, each artist assumed a unique character, bringing individual needs and concerns to the tasks at hand. ,

A large ticking clock kept the pace and periodically erupted with a loud and obnoxious bell. At the sound of the bell, artists changed roles along the conveyor belt – moving up and down the metaphorical ladder of power. A projection beamed onto the structure. The projection contains images of a pre-recorded performance of Madufacturing Pyradox onto the performers and the structure, adding yet another layer of reality and repetition, alluding to the many hours already spent doing these tasks, and projecting into the future the many more hours that will be invested.

There were moments of beauty, calm and joy, but the darker realities of conflict, confusion and darkness took over the piece with the building of trance-like music, punctuated by the alarm bell accentuating the frenetic nature of the movements and the falling down and building up of the pyramid structure..

With The Madufacturing Pyradox, we hoped to illicit some awareness and understanding into the complicated relationship to work that each one of us feels and has experienced. The questions and discussions we hoped to address are manifold, but included: the never ending irony of working to maintain sanity but insanity being induced by working conditions; work doesn't necessarily offer sanity but can give an individual that struggles with mental health issues a sense of purpose, belonging and the “feeling of being a contributing member of society”; the simultaneous reality that most work environment do not always nurture or foster the best conditions for those that have mental health issues; societal expectations and pressures dictate that everyone “should” be a contributing member of society and those that cannot work are then shunned, face discrimination and stigmatization; the continued stereotypes that do not foster confidence in the individual and only further perpetuate lack of access to work, which places them on the fringes.