My research at UNSW Art & Design in Sydney investigates the potential of digital art for instigating audience engagement with the topic of mental health. It focuses particularly on digital art as a tool for reflecting on affective and embodied experiences, and its ability to help audiences explore their own mental health in the gallery space.
The topic is investigated using a combination of theory and practice. Existing discourses on affect and interactivity are key to the exploration of the psychological processes at work when an individual interacts with art. Simultaneously, an enquiry into the experiential qualities of psychological distress, led initially by a Derridean study of rationality and affectivity, will help to clarify how artists can best engage audiences on the topic of mental illness.
My own work as a curator will form the basis of my practice based research; starting with an exhibition I am currently curating to take place at Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, UK in 2015. This exhibition will explore relationships between technology, society and personal wellbeing.
My project is formulated in response to the well-established link between art and mental health that arises through the history of art therapy and through contemporary trends in participatory art (Bishop 2012). In the light of technological advances that are fundamentally shifting the individuals’ psychological relation to the computer (Turkle 2012), and against the backdrop of increasing use of computer technology in mental healthcare or e-mental health, (Newman 2004) this project will make an innovative interdisciplinary contribution to discourses across the arts, technology and mental health.