Film still from 'The Directors: Marcus', Marcus Coates (2022) Produced by Artangel and commissioned with Art Fund Support.
Film still from 'The Directors: Marcus', Marcus Coates (2022). Produced by Artangel and commissioned with Art Fund Support
Film still from 'The Directors: Anthony', Marcus Coates (2022) Produced by Artangel and commissioned with Art Fund Support

The Directors is a collaboration between artist Marcus Coates and five individuals in recovery from different lived experiences of psychosis. Positioned behind the camera, each of them directs Coates in a filmed re-staging of a particular episode from their life. Following extensive research and discussion, the five short films challenge cultural stigma through an attempt to understand different realities. Each director chose a location of personal significance where Coates was filmed embodying and performing their experiences.

In January/February 2024, CAST partnered with Artangel to present The Directors as a series of free looped screenings in Helston – the first presentation of the work since it premiered in London the previous year. During the two weeks the film was shown, Marcus visited Cornwall to deliver an artist talk at CAST and take part in an ‘in conversation’ event at Falmouth University with Ilric Shetland, Cornwall-based psychoanalyst and senior member of the Society for Social and Critical Psychoanalysis (SSCP). Marcus also visited Helston Community College to talk to the students about his work, after which he agreed to provide written answers to questions sent by Photography A Level student Charlotte Williams. The interview can be read here.

Helston-based psychoanalyst Tom Greenall wrote the following appreciation of Marcus Coates’s work:

The Directors is a necessary and important work, which depicts the lived experience of psychosis. Crucially, Coates’s relational representation de-stigmatises and de-pathologises the lived reality for individuals who encounter their minds and the world in this way. For a work to address and represent this in such a sensitive, considered manner, whilst highlighting the challenges faced by these individuals in their lives, is an achievement indeed.

The Directors speaks to, and engages with, a number of important ethical considerations and it is refreshing to see art traversing the territories of mental health, the psyche and the social field with integrity, responsibility and respect.’

All five films can be viewed online for free – To gain instant access you will be required to complete a simple form.

The Directors was produced by Artangel and commissioned with Art Fund support.With special thanks to The Executive Producers for their generosity: Andrew Abdulezer, Martine d’Anglejan-Chatillon, James Brett, Robert Devereux, Gerry Fox, Gabriela Galcerán Ball, Kate MacGarry, Gabrielle Rifkind & Jonathan Levy, The Sigrid Rausing Trust and those who wish to remain anonymous. Read more about the project and access resources here.

The Directors is part of The Artangel Collection, an initiative to bring outstanding film and video works, commissioned and produced by Artangel, to galleries and museums across the UK and internationally. The Artangel Collection has been developed in partnership with Tate, is generously supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Foyle Foundation, and uses public funding from Arts Council England.