the vacuum cleaner, City and Hackney Centre for Mental Health. Photograph by the artist.

the vacuum cleaner – Madlove

Madlove asked those with and without mental illness to collaborate in designing a ‘safe place to go mad’ – to redesign the ‘asylum’. It asked people to challenge the current social and medical perception of mental health, through a playful, imaginative and positive design process. Unlimited supported the vacuum cleaner with collaborator Hannah Hull to hold a series of design and consultation workshops across the country, creating a blueprint for a ‘designer asylum’.

The vacuum cleaner is an art and activism collective of one. He employs various creative legal and illegal tactics to mock, brandalise and disrupt concentrations of power. Through site-specific performance, street-based intervention and film, the vacuum cleaner empowers his audience to address socio-political issues including consumerism and mental health discrimination. From one-man shows to large-scale participatory actions, his approach is variously subtle and extreme, but always candid, provocative and playful.

You can view the illustrations from the series of workshops here. The suggestions and ideas collected during research workshops between 2014 and 2016 can be viewed here.