Aristotle made specific categorizations of sound. Rational and Irrational. Male and Female. Sane and Insane. After the Greeks determined that sound could be divided, it was easy to determine that the language structures and indications of insanity could be categorized and systematically excluded. The categorization of madness from Aristotle to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) has predominantly excluded the voices (the sounds) of those who have been diagnosed.
It seems that our histories have been written before we take part in them. We find our role, and stepping aside from it can shake the balance of what has been written. Michelangelo created a narrative which stands as a monument to history, a monument for history, for the creation of all we experience, the sublime and the ordinary. His paintings on the Sistine Chapel ceiling tell of the heroic being of God, Christ, and human nature as it directs to those ends. This is one example of history which, coming on the heels of Greek categorization, demonized the Mad and sought to create the conditions whereby one could judge others based on their sounds, their form, and/or their characteristics.
I want to overwrite history. I have learned that stories written for my character (my diagnosis) are wrong. Not only wrong for me, but wrong for those whom I interact with. In order to overwrite history I have to work on those parts of our collected history which make a continuous impact. I will overwrite the Sistine Chapel. Repainting the ceiling, one panel at a time, I will recreate the entire surface and then I will utilize written forms (variations on sound), shifts in perspective, the introduction and elimination of characters, and a new sequence of events to call out and question the narratives that a specifically western view of madness has sold us.
This project will be publicly unveiled in October 2021 in proud partnership with the Epiphany Center for the Arts, located in the historic Church of the Epiphany building in the West Loop of Chicago. Their space will house the painted ceiling, suspended above the floor of the main hall. A series of events will highlight the changing landscape of mental health and the necessity for the stories of those who live within a diagnosis.
Become a partner:
We invite you to participate throughout this project and the many stages it will take. Consider a studio visit, or see many of the performance works I complete throughout the year.
The ceiling is 133 feet long and 46 feet wide. This undertaking will require a large financial consideration, from the rigging and suspension, to the materials and fabrication. Please consider making a small contribution to keep this effort moving forward.
Please consider if your company can become a partner in the project, and let’s discuss the potential of what that may look like. This will take many communities coming together to find a successful opportunity to bring mental health, stigma, and healing to the forefront of our social dialogue.
My studio door is always open, as the purchasing of artworks is always a significant way to help fund future projects like OF EXCEPTIONS. I have hundreds of works available at the studio which can be viewed by appointment.
Please share this project with others who may be interested.
Thank you for your time and for your consideration. Sign up at the bottom of this page for updates and information about the project and other events related to my work.
use the button above for PayPal donations. If you use Venmo, donations can be transferred to @Matt-Bodett. Please be sure to add OF EXCEPTIONS to the message. Anyone who makes a donation, and provides an email, will have access to a final report of expenses, with names and sensitive information removed.
Studies for OF EXCEPTIONS
As an Anartist (a term with Sanskrit origins and used by artists like Duchamp) Bodett uses visual art, performance art, poetry, video, and sound to advocate for a better, more human, connection with mental illnesses. His work removes stigma and creates unique settings for understanding one’s relationships to mental health and disability at large.
After being diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder in 2005, Bodett graduated with an MFA from Boise State University in 2011 and moved to Chicago shortly afterward to pursue a more full time studio practice. He has been a 3Arts/Bodies of Work Fellow, a 2019 Incubator Artist with High Concept Laboratories, a 2019 3Arts/MacDowell Fellow, and has performed at the No Limits Festival in Berlin, at the Freud Museum in London, and with VAE in Religh. Matt Bodett serves on the Advisory Board for the Institute for Therapy Through the Arts and on the 3Arts Artist Council.
A 4k/HD version of this film is available to purchase. If you are interested please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Drawings from MacDowell
Some of these works will be on view at Bert Green Fine Arts in downtown Chicago. The exhibition opens on January 11th and ends with an Artist’s talk on February 22nd at 4 p.m.
Bert Green is located at 8 S Michigan Ave suite 620
The images above are a selection of works completed as a 3Arts/MacDowell Colony Fellow in the spring of 2019.
6.25 x 10 in 15.875 x 25.4 cm