Unreason is reason dazzled           
October 2019

Live recording at Elephant West

Recorded live at Elephant West as part of Hospital Rooms residency.

Opening and closing extracts are from the Italian documentary 'Cronoca' recorded 5 years after the closing of the Arezzo asylum.

Art and madness have been constant companions through time. Yet around this creative thread, societal perceptions of mental health have evolved, traced through the walls of the institution and its multiple transitions. The philosopher Michel Foucault saw the asylum and the medicalisation of madness as bringing about a monopoly of reason over unreason; he saw madness, essentially, as ‘reason dazzled’, reason being blinded by the light of experience.


This is the first episode of ‘Unreason is Reason Dazzled’ with Phoebe Eustance and Jess Oglethorpe. This episode looks at the active role of art in recording and bearing witness to changing perceptions of mental health through two artworks: an early 20th century fresco originally painted on the walls of an asylum in Arezzo, Italy, and the other by a service user painted on the walls of Hellingly forensic unit during the making of the Hellingly tapestry with Hospital Rooms’ Tim Shaw.

©2020 Phoebe Eustance