25><28 is a collaboration between the artists Gail Howard and Sara Annwyl, two Cardiff artists who live on the same street. Their houses, numbers 25 and 28, are situated directly opposite each other with overlooking windows. Coincidentally both Howard and Annwyl also suffer from Bipolar Disorder. Subtweet_Retweet is the first piece of work from 25><28, part of what will be a series of collaborative pieces exploring conversation, code, emotional revelation and concealed information. Subtweet_Retweet is an online Twitter conversation between the artists about their experiences of being Bipolar. Instead of talking to each other directly the artists will instead build a dialogue by retweeting statements made by other Tweeters, outlining their own subjective experiences using the voices and thoughts of others. This use of other people's words references the lack of a voice and disempowerment experienced by mental health service users. Institutionalised and societal discrimination and prejudice contribute to the marginalisation of those suffering mental ill health, an already lonely and disorientating experience which Annwyl and Howard attempt to communicate in this piece. A Subtweet is a term used to describe when a Tweeter is unable or unwilling to reference a subject or person directly, and so uses metaphor, coded in-jokes and symbols to infer meaning to the intended recipient. It is usually used as a secret form of flirtation, or as a snide form of passive aggressive attack. 25><28 will use retweeted subtweets to depict the experience of being mentally ill. 25><28's retweeted dialogue is in a sense one large subtweet. A subconversation about a topic which is difficult to broach and explore directly. Fear, hatred and mockery of the mad is perhaps the most unquestioned form of social bigotry and the last acceptable prejudice. By using other people's statements to tell their own stories 25><28 draw attention to their own voicelessness but also to the fact that mental pain and difficulty is a shared experience. Madness is a repression that might be found in any life story.
Born and raised in Aberystwyth, Sara Annwyl is an artist and film maker who studied at Newport School of Film. She currently lives in Cardiff. http://www.saraannwyl.blogspot.co.uk/
Gail Howard moved to Cardiff in 1990 from London. Since graduating with a Fine Art BA from Cardiff School of Art & Design in 1997, she has worked as a freelance artist and project manager and is currently Executive Director at Milkwood Gallery, and also a founding member and curator of the annual artist-led festival, Made in Roath.