`They were looking for the ideal Manchurian Candidate' Artist turns secret CIA experiments on her grandmother into powerful exhibit - Sarah Milroy 7/14/09
....Winnipeg artist Sarah Anne Johnson has clearly felt its wing beat overhead, and, sitting last week in the middle of House on Fire , her new show at Toronto's Art Gallery of Ontario....In the mid-fifties, her late maternal grandmother, Velma Orlikow, was diagnosed with postpartum depression. She was sent to Montreal for treatment, to the Allan Memorial Institute at McGill University, the site of now infamous mind-control experiments under the direction of Dr. Ewen Cameron.
Though her family didn't know it at the time, the clinic was receiving funding from the CIA to conduct procedures in brainwashing. The project was called MK-Ultra, and the team made the Winnipeg mother of two, and a number of other patients, their unwitting subjects. "They were looking for the ideal Manchurian Candidate," Johnson says. "It's almost impossible to believe, it is just so crazy."
Over the course of several stays, her grandmother was subjected to intensive electro-convulsive therapy, with an aim to wipe her memory clean for re-programming. "Dr. Cameron called it psychic driving. He was willing to push his experiments to the limit," Johnson says. The medical records also show that her grandmother was the subject of 14 experiments with LSD....
The New York Times broke the story of the experiments in an article in 1977. "My grandfather happened to read it and he thought, `Wait, those are the years Vel was there.' " She mobilized herself, leading a group of seven other former patients and waging a class-action suit against the CIA. (In 1988, they finally settled out of court, each receiving less than $80,000.) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/they-were-looking-for-the-ideal-manchurian-candidate/article1216879/