What is Madlove?

It ain’t no bad thing to need a safe place to go mad. The problem is that a lot of psychiatric hospitals are more punishment than love… they need some Madlove.

Is it possible to go mad in a positive way? How would you create a safe place in which to do so? If you designed your own asylum, what would it look like?

Madlove is a new project by the vacuum cleaner based on his personal experience of mental health hospitals, and his desire to find a positive space to experience mental distress… and enlightenment.

The project will bring together people with and without mental health experiences, mental health professionals and academics, artists and designers – and everyone else on the spectrum. Together we will attempt to create a unique space where mutual care blossoms, stigma and discrimination are actively challenged, divisions understood, and madness can be experienced in a less painful way.

The aim is to build the most crazy, bonkers, mental asylum we dare dream of: a desirable and playful space to ‘go mad’, countering the popular myth that mental illness is dangerous and scary. This temporary structure will be a reflexive and responsive space for exploring and redesigning madness.

Exactly how Madlove looks and functions will be collaboratively decided at a series of workshops happening across the UK, and now internationally, throughout 2014 to 2016. Participants will explore what objects, sounds, smells, colours, shapes, food, facilities and activities we need to create safety around ‘madness’.

We will design a programme of activities that will happen within the ‘asylum’ structure. These could include: drop-in sessions, free tea and biscuits, phone lines, family visits, supported food time, benefits support, service-user led workshops for the police on restraint, debates between herbalists and psychopharmacologists, conceptual art therapy…

Madlove will then be built and opened, operating as a voluntary admission ‘day hospital’ over six weeks. Primarily an experimental space, designed by and for the experience of madness, might this model be highly supportive and self-sustainable?

The wider public will be invited – mad or not – to participate in the six-week programme of events. Through Madlove, we can begin to understand the power relations between patient and staff, lived expert and academic expert, artist and audience, neuro-diverse and neuro-typical… and start making positive change.

This significant mutual aid project invites people to share knowledge, experience and openly support and inform each other. We need a wide range of skills to ensure the mutual support needed to make Madlove happen. Whether you are a set designer, a hospital architect, a horticulturalist, a sensory room specialist, a baker. We need you to help ensure the development of supportive relationships and a genuine legacy of Madlove.

If you identify with the need for this project, don’t be shy and get in touch. Tell us your ideas or just put your name down and see what happens….