Catalogue & Exhibition Essay

‘Disabling’ the Museum: Curator as Infrastructural Activist


Image from ‘Disabling’ the Museum: Curator as Infrastructural Activist
Bibliographic Reference

“’Disabling’ the Museum: Curator as Infrastructural Activist,” reproduced in Group Therapy: Mental Distress in a Digital Age, edited and curated by Vanessa Bartlett for FACT: Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 2015).

This is a collection of essays about personal wellbeing in a contemporary age. At its core is a conviction that mental health is not just a medical issue, but is deeply impacted by the social relationships, political conditions, and technologies that that structure our lives. It is published to coincide with the exhibition Group Therapy: Mental distress in a digital age held at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) and co-curated by Mike Stubbs and Vanessa Bartlett. It is written in part by the artists, psychologists and health professionals involved in making the exhibition.

Using provocations and personal testimony derived from first hand experience, the writers in this book seek to challenge some of our conventional perceptions about mental health. They move away from the idea that mental illness is a condition that impacts on a small cohort of individuals living at the edges of society and exhibiting pathological behaviors. Instead we address ways that all of us experience mental distress through pressure at work, status anxiety and common experiences of guilt or negativity. While this is not a new approach to mental illness (there is a rich tradition of critiquing psychiatry that we often allude to in this collection), we consider it in relationship to some issues specific to late capitalism and our technologically driven society.

-Description of the book