Live Project - Mind
Brief: Mind would like projects to focus on exploring and developing new approaches to how people living through moments or periods of emotional and mental health issues can experience the right kind of support they need in the their homes and in their communities.
Throughout our research we came across various ways in which to treat mental health through art. A key inspiration in our beginning stages were Dunne and Raby, the placebo objects they created.
We also conducted a group research experiment centred around art therapy by getting people to take part in a Pollock-like activity. Through this experience we realised that the throwing and brushing of paint onto a canvas was a visual way for people to express their emotion. Moving on from this idea we began collecting individual versions of this around university and areas in central London on a smaller scale - postcards.
Thinking after this we decided to explore the idea of private, public spaces. We landed on toilets as a closed off space that people can go to when they need some private time. We decided to put sheets of paper on the back of the toilet doors with a variety of prompts like “How are you feeling?” and “What’s Up?” After collecting these sheets, we decided to put on an interactive exhibition to further our practical research.
For the exhibition I had the idea to use the quotations and carve them onto pieces of wood which could then light up as the exhibition space we had chosen would be dark. I produced the signs form 9mm MDF using a CNC router after using Rhino to produce the 2D plans.
We gathered together the postcards as well as the signs produced and a number of other interactive pieces for the exhibition which took place in the London Cocktail Club on Shaftesbury Avenue. We thought that holding the event in an unusual venue would reduce the pressure on people to take part as the feeling was relaxed and a familiar environment.
Our aim with this experience and exhibition was to normalise the idea of having a mental illness, to hopefully allow people to see this with a different perspective and aid them to be more comfortable when speaking about subjects which tend to be hidden due to shame. We want to remove the stigma around mental wellbeing in a cooperative manner, hence the interactive art pieces we produced for this experience.
Visualise aims to remove stigma and raise awareness by the use of art- based conversations through the creation of art pieces as a means not only of art therapy but also as a means of communication between people. To enable people to indirectly speak of their issues and feelings. To demonstrate to people how normal and common having an unbalanced mental health is. To remove the stereotype and stigma around mental illnesses through art pieces, which do not require of specific skills. To provide people with a safe place and platform where they can communicate and anonymously converse about their personal issues. To ultimately, raise the awareness that mental illnesses or issues are normal situations to not be ashamed of and provide a safe platform for them.