sean burn is a writer, performer and outsider artist with a growing international reputation. he is also actively involved in disability arts. his thirty plus short films have received many screenings worldwide, as well as at tate modern and national film theatre studios, london. sean’s third and latest full volume of poetry is that a bruise or a tattoo? was published by shearsman press, autumn 2013.
Fragile (from seven short films about madness), 2015, 3 minutes 30 seconds
After a recent heart attack and between two operations, it seemed what i was working on could be my last creation, concentrating my mind. i returned to short gestures summing up aspects of mental ill-health that i have used repeatedly in live performance. fragile is one of seven short performances to camera that were on my mind – i hope humorously, beautifully and compellingly answering back phrases about living with long-term mental illness. here i wind fragile tape around my head repeatedly to make a cast of the crown of my head, then offer this to the camera/viewer. finally the discarded crown is blown gently in the wind, in close-up. it speaks of my mental fragility. the accompanying soundscape is an original electroacoustic composition recording psychiatric medicine-taking – the whole ritual of running the tap, filling a drinking cup with water; opening the tablet drawer; popping tablets from blisterpacks; swallowing them; then putting everything away. over the top are subtle ‘glitches’ – lightly processed elements of sound-art.