AL Kennedy: Art and Madness
BBC Radio 3
In this highly authored inquiry, writer and comedian, AL Kennedy, questions the cliched link between madness and creativity, claiming that being true to one’s self and exploring one’s identity is integral to the making or performing of one’s art – however perilous this can seem.
In the case of many artists, creation has been defined as a kind of obsessive disorder, a compulsion they can barely control. After being diagnosed with tuberculosis, Chekhov chose to continue work rather than seek treatment. Acutely tuned senses, restlessness, intensity of focus, reduced inhibition, depression, a sense of the visionary and heightened imaginative powers are all hallmarks of both the creative and mentally ill individual. And yet decades of studies have questioned conventional definitions of madness, treatments of the “insane” and the long-term effects of “normal” behaviour.
Produced by Susan Marling
Broadcast: April 2012