Sunday, 6 July 2008

Altered Perceptions

My current motivation is in grey areas and the gaps in between. Where does the line lay between normal and abnormal and at what point can we consider ourselves sane, infact who in their right mind would call themselves sane?

It is my intention to explore how distinct perceptions exist for different people and the effect of passing from one subjective 'reality' to another. Areas of interest include experiences of psychosis or addiction. Moments where a persons perceptions are somehow radically changed and they feel and see the world differently than before. Where people have experienced new or altered 'realities'.

Can Artists bridge the gaps between subjective existences and/or challenge and emphasise the distinctions between personal points of view?

Aims and Intentions:
- To make a body of work that explores altered perceptions.
- I hope to help the viewer to see and feel how another person experiences life.
- Ultimately, for the viewer to experience a new or different 'reality'.
- I hope to achieve an unbiased and non judgmental image by talking to people with mental health problems and practitioners, from primary care to psychiatry.
- To challenge oppressive and discriminatory views.
- To encourage us to confront our own opinions and find empathy.


I would like to hear from people who want to talk about their own experiences.


Please check back soon, I will be updating this page and adding new information soon...



WHERE WOULD YOU PUT YOURSELF ON THIS LINE???

sane----------------------------------------------------------------insane

6 comments:

Laura-Marie said...

Wishing you all the best with this project.

Anonymous said...

I have 'suffered' with 'mental illness' - and i put those words in parentheses because they are labels and nothing else. They do not accurately describe the shift in perception that occurs when what i like to think of as a spiritual crisis occurs - a crisis of spirit.

For me, 'mental illness' is an upsurge of energy from deep within the psyche that leads to changes within the mind (including changes in brain chemistry). This energy is the boundless energy of spirit that struggles to be freed.

When we are shaken up, whether through pressurising ourselves in some way, or being pressurised from the outside (eg, an abusive relationship), this energy quite literally comes to the surface. It does so because there is something we are missing, some lesson we need to learn, some part of ourselves that needs healing. The energy pops up and says 'deal with me'.

Most people are 'unbalanced' by this upsurge; very very few are prepared for it in any way. When i say unbalanced, i mean that changes happen within the psyche that occur faster and faster as the energy makes itself known. Thus begins the shift in perception, the shift that leads to forces of thought and feeling being swung in all directions.

(Interestingly enough, there exists a school of thought that personifies unbalanced forces as 'demons')

This shift can be violent as it begins to manifest itself through the personality. Sometimes it is permanent too.

Perceptions become full of synchronicities; everything links up. It is almost as though the person going through the shift is suddenly clearly seeing the cosmic web of life; it is only that the fractured ego misinterprets many of the signs and synchronicities as being dangerous or worrying.

Ultimately, if the shift is permanent, the ego struggles with the weight of the energy that is continually being unleashed from within the psyche. It buckles and fragments.

But this is a simplification, and i cannot speak for those whose view of 'mental illness' is different. In fact the only thing i would say for certain is that such shifts in perception are wholly subjective and cannot be classified. There are as many different realities as there are people.

My view is coloured by the fact that my shift in perception was not permanent. Therefore i still see it as an anomaly, rather than a naturalistic state of being.

There are of course those who see it differently.

To me such 'illnesses' are opportunities for healing some part of the Self. If they are permanent or recurring then there is clearly more healing to be done.

But there are those who embrace their shifts in perception, and i would argue that this embrace, on some level, is absolutely necessary if personal evolution is to occur and therefore healing.

To those on heavy medication, who are frightened of their condition, who 'slip in and out' i offer heart and strength.

It IS frightening, i know; i have been there, but ultimately the higher self is always present, a silent observer. If you find yourself in states where you are 'normal' (be it due to medication or anything else), then practice things you like. Practice the things that help and please you, that make you feel good.

Giving, loving, or simple earthly things such as painting and singing. Be with people who nourish you.

charles olsen said...

Hi Amy, I look forward to seeing how this develops! Nice reading what Sophie and 'anonymous' wrote as well. Best wishes

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy

I just wanted to see what you were going to do with the theme. I've spent time in an institution, so its something that interests me, and I like what you've done so far. I was put on medication for something in 2006, and I went psychotic, seeing and hearing things.

I had never had problems of this kind before, so when I started believing I was being followed by devil worshippers who wanted me to join or they were going to sacrifice me, the things I heard and saw seemed quite real to me. I didn't know this kind of thing could happen to 'normal' people.

And after the doctors took me off the stimulating medication I didn't stop thinking the things I had been thinking. Five months later my life was in ruins because I kept on trying to run away and hide because I thought I was going to get killed. So I eventually took myself to an institution for two months to deal with the trauma and now I'm on meds for life.

That was almost two years ago. Its been a struggle, but I'm fine now. I was insane, and I came back. So there's one for your collection. One of those things you're not supposed to talk about.

Anonymous said...

What is the point of looking if focus has become difficult, and you cannot see the whole picture anymore anyway.

Is there any point going anywhere when it feels like you are walking on sponge and pushing your way through marshmallows. Your head is in a tube and the sound is dulled and hollow, like when you put a couple of pint glasses on your ears and the whooshing sound that comes when you lift them up and down. it's not quite so romantic as shells making the sound of the sea.

What about when it's not like that ...and everything is so loud that you barely dare move because footsteps are like thunder and even the softest sound deefens - and silence is the loudest noise ever. Everything feels so intense that even a gentle touch feels like the roughest grade of sandpaper, like it might graze the skin or remove it completely.

Choices, choices, what comes next, what to do, what then... go forward, backwards or am I moving laterally. Does it make a difference or even any sense.

And then the house, is it a home or your very own prison, it is has no bars and you are absolutely allowed to leave, if you wanted, if you could? But the real prison is your head - it's in your head .

Anonymous said...

Natural speed - must go fast - even as I write this I must go fast... high energy - might be good - might be bad, can't stop anyway. Must go fast, must keep going - keep talking, walking, working...

Hyperactive, buzzing - have to keep moving and talking so much so that it would take a conscious effort to let other people get a word in edgeways. Mostly it just comes out as crap. It can't be stopped it's not like lying, it's just talking for the sake of it - to fill every space. Not the silence though, just the thinking space.

I want to be silent, the person who sits on the perifery and listen and learn. But I am the person talking over you. I want to listen but it's impossible for me to stop talking to allow that space to exist.

None of this happens because I am an ignorant person or because I am unkind, I just run on such an exteme level of energy that I find it difficult to see or hear.

Yet sometimes I just stare into space..... don't do anything..... no energy..... feel weak.
Divised a way to float passed times of hyper energy.... Just stare and float, stare and float - don't think, just stare and float.