Artist: Elizabeth Farge and Seth Goering
Artist Statement: Is mental illness a disease of the brain or a by-product of an unhealthy society? Do people go mad organically or are they driven that way by the pressures of conforming to a set of values to which they do not or cannot subscribe? This modern culture of capitalism, technology, and consumption is a fertile breeding ground for anxiety and frustration. Politics are guided by the interests of corporations and the gap that divides the haves from the have-nots has widened into a deep chasm. For some, the alienation is too powerful a force. They become lost and take to looking for themselves in self-destructive places while others may turn inwards and retreat from a world that is not theirs. But for some, it’s not enough to disappear. They want their voices to be heard and will share their messages of discontent with anyone or anything that will listen. Graffiti art belongs to the proletariat. This back-alley art form has its roots in social and political dissent and has been used as a forum to force the message of those without a voice as far back as there were people who needed to be heard. Karl Marx might argue that the people are redistributing the wealth and using private property as a free public gallery. Take a walk through the alleys of Toronto and hear the many voices of those who let their messages of subversion, sorrow, sedation, and hope. For maybe those who refuse to quietly comply with this mad world are themselves the voices of sanity.