There's an installation at Porter by a new Assistant Professor. I think I'll go check it out and report back.
“Sculpture is an emotion made tangible,” Hibbert-Jones explained. “I’m exploring the role of the artist as healer by creating a tangible product to soothe a mental health disorder. If someone is having an anxiety attack, I can give them something to hold or wear like a security blanket. I look at ideas like: ‘How do you create an environment that creates an emotional response of safety?’ or ‘What kinds of things help?’”
Hibbert-Jones’s creations include a Separation Anxiety Disorder Teddy Backpack and an Attention Deficit Disorder Brace. She has also constructed a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Security Vest—complete with an LCD screen to cathartically retell a personal trauma story, a stress gauge connected to body temperature, and a walkie-talkie check-in device to monitor personal safety.
Hibbert-Jones said she conceived her project while reflecting on the massive influence of the psycho-pharmaceutical industry. The presentation of her products mimics a corporate display, using the language of the pharmaceutical industry in text, logo, colors, and signage. “I’m turning the Sesnon Gallery into a trade show of psychological prosthetics,” said Hibbert-Jones. “I’ll have an infomercial about the products on display, banners advertising the products, and photos on the walls of people wearing and using the products.”
Like political theater, Hibbert-Jones’s work is both serious and satirical, with the intent of stimulating discussion of important issues related to mental illness, diagnosis, prescription, and treatment. The Sesnon installation will also include an interactive performance art aspect—outside the gallery, performers in lab coats will interview people about depression and anxiety to kick-start conversations about mental health.
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