The Mad Maps Project


April 12-18, 2021
The Cohen New Works Festival
directed by Alexis Riley, devised by the ensemble


The Mad Maps Project is an interactive digital performance archive that maps the use of psychiatric language in unexpected places.

To create The Mad Maps Project, contributing artists each received and crafted a response to a grocery item containing a term such as “mad,” “crazy,” “manic,” or “insane” in its product name.

Collectively, their work constitutes a series of mad maps: sensate, choreographic scores tracing a genealogy that migrates, madly, across time and space, memory and history, body and object, clinic and commons. This is a small revolution. For mental health consumers, survivors, and ex-patients, moving and feeling are routinely pathologized, narrated as irrational, inappropriate, or inscrutable. Creating mad maps affirms the insight of our bodyminds, reframing them not as potential sources of disorder, but rather as profound sources of wisdom.

Ultimately, this project explores how we come to understand our relationship to mental health, mental illness, and mental disability through our everyday encounters, and how we might imagine those relationships otherwise.