Kai Syng Tan presents Art, ADHD, Neurodiversity & Giant Octopussies: #MagicCarpet Launch, London


Price: Free



What happens when visual art runs into and runs riot with ADHD? What are the frisson and frictions that arise? What do they say about how we perceive others who are different and who think differently? What are the possibilities and limitations of a term like ‘neurodiverse art’? What is the role of mind wandering in ADHD and the creative process? What other magic carpets could we make? Where do we want them to take us?

Join artist Dr Kai Syng Tan and Professor of Psychiatry Philip Asherson (both at Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, Kings’ College London) for the launch of I Run and Run, Let Out An Earth-Shattering Roar and Turn Into A Giant Octopussy (2017). Part of a 1.5 year project #MagicCarpet, this is a new tapestry artwork arising from an ongoing dialogue between Kai and Philip on mind wandering and how that relates to the creative process and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Through a series of provocations and a discussion, the evening explores the creative process, how it relates to our different brains, and the possibilities and limitations of ‘neurodiverse art’. The intention is to open up a space for creative collisions and productive antagonisms about the arts-health-society and body-brain-mind-world dynamics, which the hosting venue itself – the iconic Art Workers’ Guild situated amidst research facilities for neuroscience – powerfully plays out. Instead of answers and conclusions, expect to be provoked, amused and bemused and to leave with new questions. Triggering the conversation alongside Kai and Philip are Prue Cooper and Fleur Oakes (The Art Workers’ Guild), Professor Andrew Stahl (UCL Slade School of Fine Art), Jo Verrent (Unlimited) and Ben Platts-Mills (Headway East London). There will also be live demonstrations by Fleur Oakes, Rachael Matthews, and Paul Jakeman of the Guild. Come ride the #MagicCarpet. Let’s see how far we can go together.

The venue is wheelchair accessible. A BSL interpreter will be available on the evening. There is also a quiet room. Please contact us at magiccarpet@kaisyngtan.com to let us know about your access requirements and we will be happy to help. This event is organised in collaboration with The Art Workers’ Guild.

#MagicCarpet is a 2017 Unlimited commission. Unlimited is an arts commissioning programme that celebrates ambitious work by disabled artists. Unlimited is funded by Arts Council England, and delivered by Shape Arts and Artsadmin. The project is part of King’s artist in residence programme supported by Cultural Programming and the Department of Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre, King’s College London. #MagicCarpet is realised with the support of Submit To Love Studios (Headway East London), UK Adult ADHD Network (UKAAN), Flanders Tapestries.

We sat on a mat and had a chat and made maps! #MagicCarpetis a 1.5 year art practice-led research project that draws on emerging research on the universality of mind wandering as well as how it relates to visual art and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Channeling the exuberance of Grayson Perry’s tapestry art, the work embeds within it Kai’s lived experience as a mind wandering extraordinaire. Through a programme of talks, workshops and the creation of a new participatory tapestry art installation, #MagicCarpet aims to generate a creative space to explore the lines – squiggly, fractured, actual, imagined, messy, fascinating – between ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ behaviours, imagination and pathology, art practice and scientific research as well as the physical weave and digital pixel. The ‘magic’ that #MagicCarpet aims for is not to seek or provide answers but to raise questions, and to allow us to learn from and challenge one another and irritate existing assumptions about how we relate to the world, self and one another.

BSL interpretation, wheelchair access


The Art Workers' Guild, 6 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3AT

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