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States of Mind: An Interactive Installation by Brendan Dawes

Exhibition: Group Therapy: Mental distress in a digital age

FACT, Liverpool

5 March – 17 May 2015

What does your mental health look like right now?

States of Mind is a newly designed interactive installation created by Brendan Dawes at Nexus Interactive Arts in partnership with The Creative Exchange, which invites visitors to create colourful 3D objects to visually represent how they feel at that  precise moment. Their original creations are then displayed as digital artworks in the public gallery spaces at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) in Liverpool, UK.

These personal ‘artefacts’ will inform a range of workshops and creative activities throughout the duration of the Group Therapy exhibition .

The anonymous public contributions form part of a collaborative design research project for FACT, created by Brendan Dawes of Nexus Interactive Arts in collaboration with Benjamin Koslowski, Tom Simmons and Roberto Bottazzi at the Royal College of Art (RCA), Karen Ingham of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and supported by the Creative Exchange.

The exhibition Group Therapy: Mental distress in a digital age will be showing at FACT between 5 March - 17 May 2015. Originating from FACT’s extensive work within mental health and wellbeing, the exhibition explores the complex relationship between technology, society, and mental health.

Developed with various partners, including Mersey Care NHS Trust, the Wellcome Trust, The British Psychological Society (BPS) and University of Liverpool, the exhibition will be accompanied by a full public programme. Films, talks and events will encourage visitors to rethink their understanding of mental health and wellbeing and welcome further public discussion about how our mental health is related to the society we live in and the impact of new technologies. FACT’s Young People’s programme will also be producing focused events for local young people. The exhibition coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week 2015 (11 - 17 May).

Our society is characterised by a constant use of digital devices - from taking selfies and vlogging, to working and gaming. Simultaneously, most people face some kind of mental health issues during their lifetime, affecting either themselves, or a friend or family member. But how is our use of technology connected to our wellbeing, and how does it affect our values and the way we see ourselves?

Group Therapy explores the past, present and future of mental health and wellbeing in relation to societal values and technology. Including apps, games and online forums, a variety of digital tools will be displayed that illustrate the diverse ways we use technology to manage and mediate our emotions in the 21st Century.

Vanessa Bartlett, who is co-curating the exhibition with FACT’s Director Mike Stubbs, says ‘Group Therapy proposes that art and the creative use of digital devices can challenge dated ideas about mental illness, helping to reduce stigma and encourage open discussion about our personal wellbeing.’


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