I believe that you have to accept diversity in order to become equal.
My Project is about attracting that diversity. The objective is to shape the elements that would turn this diversity positive even in the most complicated situation, thus mental distress, especially schizophrenia.
In this case, diversity acquires its most extreme manifestation, madness, which may all together be influenced by the constant lack of its acceptance – diversity.(Laing, 1960)
Within this particular context of mental health and family, my project had been drawing from the studies on the analogy between dreaming and psychoses(Freud, 1899). Over time, the project developed into a series of objects that being analogous to the principles that govern dreams and troubled minds, help to generate conversation and empathy, make diversity tangible. Celebrate it.
The static archetypes of the everyday are`dynamized’. Objects make the static matters of our minds, dynamic. The relationships are `dynamized’. “They make the sane mad and the mad sane” (Bosson to Renedo, 2012)
The objective is to help families bypass judgemental perspectives; go beyond the pathological view of the affected person.
The way in which families sometimes portray the schizophrenic’s thoughts as created entirely from this “disease” can be compared to how people think a nightmare comes from nowhere, just from the very act of dreaming itself.
‘’I was beginning to hate the terrible things she said to me (…) In a way, I blame myself but, in a way, I’m glad that it was an illness after all…’’ One of Laing’s (1960:181) patients mother describes.
The refusal of our dreams could contribute anxiety; likewise, in the schizophrenic’s environment is this pathological view that might contribute to the `existential death´ that threatens the psychotic.
NHS Funding for Mental Health is decreasing lately, and patients no longer have periodical visits to a psychiatrist and psychologist. The care of the affected people depends on the community and the local charities, opening a new area for design intervention. On the other hand, research and public knowledge about psychiatry is predominantly biological, and exclusively therapeutic alternatives that have been proven to work better and for less cost than medication -long term- (Karon 2007) are generally ignored, probably due to the increasingly rational society that we live in (McGilchrist, 17 Nov 2010), or because they need a bigger initial investment.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Albert Einstein (s.d cited in McGilchrist, 17 Nov 2010)
The speculative nature that we apply to some of our projects, … hardly links back to the `real world´ and lacks of mediums to do so. This project explores the therapeutic value of these design approaches.
`Empathology´ is a set of objects that by being analogous to the principles that govern dreams and troubled minds help to generate empathy among couples, families and friends affected by mental health.
This is a video where member from the mental health charity INUF discuss ideas around the objects that easy communication and empathy: