Nicole, we admire your commitment to your project and your objective of increasing sensitivity towards people with mental illness. We are, however, a little concerned about how you can fight stigmas by making monsters. Your masks are horrific. Why? It seems to us that if you want to increase sensitivity you would need to draw people in and that would require that you take a different direction. Clarifying this aspect of your concept is essential to the overall success of your project.
What do you guys think? I'm not done yet. I'm working on getting my site up so you all can see what's what.
I worked out a verbal arguement of how to fight them. Hahaha. Fight. I'm all rared up and ready for a fight, I might surprise them with being too aggressive. Maybe I read too much into it. I was... offended, almost when they called my masks horrific. I mean, they ARE, but that's the point, they are mirroring the human suffering. Human suffering is not happy smiley faces and fluffy bunnies. But at the same time I understand what they speak of. To get people to become more sensitive requires you to draw them in, and for the things producing information to be more approachable. Yes, got it. But, for someone to learn, it would sacrifice what I believe a key element to understanding a part of what mental illness is.
The entire heart, where the masks would be, is in a very small, tight area, the audio is not pleasant to listen to, neither are the stories written on the doors a pleasant read, so why would I go and make the masks pleasant? I feel that in installation work, the space must work with the visuals and audios, and vice versa. Mental illness is uncomfortable for most people, even people who have had experience, dealing with someone who says they want to die, and maybe the only way to alleviate these pains is cutting their arm, watching the blood run, etcetcetc is not a pleasant experience, no matter how you dice it. Why would I make the representations voicing the audio of similar things comfortable when it is obvious, it isn't? I mean, yes, maybe more people would listen to it, but if you're unwilling to make the sacrifice and commitment to face the grotesque-ness of it, then I don't think you're really ready to listen. If a gross masks frightens you, I doubt the audio will make you stay much longer.
Am I wrong? Maybe I am ranting.
Maybe I spent too much time explaining the debunking of the myths so much that they think that is all my project is about. How else to word it? I am trying to simulate the experience of a situation. The situation of dealing with the truth about what mental illness is. Sure, people who walk through this project may only understand the stigmas and how they are not true. Maybe people will never know what it's like to be mentally ill, but I am trying to convey an intense feeling, emotionally, mentally, physically, to match the heavy topic, the heavy audio, the heavy visuals. Maybe it's more of a walkthrough. This is what you say it is. This is what the mentally ill hear.... This is what they feel. Can you feel how uncomfortable it is? You don't know the pain, the emotion, you don't have the illness, you could never know, but can you not feel the resonation of the emotion? It's infecting you. Not the illness, but the emotions accompanied with the self-doubt, the hyper-awareness, the intense anger, sadness, etc etc.... And this, this is their responce to you. Their responce to the outside.
I'm debunking stigmas as I go, but it is not the sole purpose of the project. The project is to also give an insight of as to the seriousness, and the weight of the actual issue. I would like to say, an experience of what it's like to be mentally ill, but since there are so many different mental illnesses and everyone's experiences varies, it would be unreal. Instead, I would like to create a deep uncomfort in the participant. That they felt that they were intruding on something private, in a sense, they are, because it is like reading journal entries to that of which they won't fully ever understand. An inner glimpse. This is what we are face with. This is what we feel. This is our reaction. Superego (Society) -> Id (People w/mental illness) -> Ego (Peoples responses to Society) of the monster.
Maybe I've lost myself. Does anyone get it? Care to ask questions? Respond? Complain? Compliment? Sorry I've been neglectful, I love you all, it's just life has almost swallowed me whole on a few occassions as you probably all have experienced before.