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The Alcoholic's Tarot

Project type

One-to-one performance and pack of playing cards


August, June and May 2024, throughout 2023, March 2022


SUPERNORMAL Festival (Oxfordshire), Five Fold (London), The Annunciation Ballroom (Brighton), TaPRA (Leeds), Addiction Recovery Arts (Liverpool Hope University) and Equal Arts (Newcastle) conferences, London College of Music and Open School East (Margate), SET Lewisham Gallery (London)

The Alcoholic's Tarot came about during the 'rigorous honesty' required during the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step programme in 2021.

This project began as I created captioned photographs of 'sites of shame', places which held personal memories of sexual and active addiction indiscretions for an exhibition in SET Lewisham. One visitor commented how the images looked like beer mats. In response to this, I began a practice research inquiry as part of my PhD study at London College of Music, and over 100 adults in Ealing, Liverpool, Leeds, Margate and Newcastle were encouraged to create 'queer mats', designing their own beer mats using their more regrettable moments of while under the influence.

This project asks where the line is between an alcoholic and a social drinker. In the UK, in many social settings, alcohol is seen as necessary social glue for 'a good night out'. For many of us, there is a darker side of alcohol or substance misuse, yet being an alcoholic is considered by many to be shameful and the fault sits with the individual, rather than the societal structures that condone and encourage drinking to excess.

The Alcoholic Tarot takes the stories and symptoms I know and have heard from others, and plays with the major arcana, using the classic Rider-Waite design. Upturning the symbolic power of the card's original meanings, Alex Mazonowicz designed these cards.

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