In all of these films, the dominant sense is of inescapability, of these scenarios being permanent. The fear, paranoia, anxiety, isolation and sadness here feel like they’ll last forever. ‘I literally can’t imagine coping with this' says Coates at one point, But people do cope with it, every day, all the time, and they survive. This isn’t easy, pleasant, aesthetic art. It’s not a painting to brighten your living room, or a sculpture for a bank lobby, it’s art to shock and shake you, art to leave you feeling completely ground down, exhausted, worn out, art to give people a voice. And it’s brilliant.
Eddy Frankel, Time Out, 2 September 2022
[Coates] is willing to fall short in his ability to understand and perform, and inevitably does, but these are not failings. To achieve what he has takes trust, when trust in the world, in others and in one’s own perceptions is often lost in psychosis. It also takes time and a willingness for both parties to feel discomfort and be happy to expose it... Perhaps the true lesson of The Directors is in identifying some conditions and tools required for such individual and isolating experiences to be shared and begin to approach a more public understandability.
Adam Hines-Green, Art Review, 18 October 2022
Inspired by a 2017 residency at the psychosis unit of Maudsley Hospital in London, Coates’s effort to embody and express the breadth and complexity of psychosis is, in part, a learning experience.
Simon Ings, New Scientist, 3 September 2022 (paywall)
Returning home by bus after his first visit to Dr Valli's clinic in 2017, Coates writes 'I was thinking about the difficulty of everyday life for people experiencing psychosis', adding that 'It made me grateful for my reality, looking at the world and feeling safe and calm. I try not to take it for granted now.' 5 years later, it would be hard for anyone watching The Directors not to feel the same way and not to find more empathy for people going through experiences where reality feels shifted.
Colin Martin, The Lancet Psychiatry, 9 October 2022