By Louis Johanson
The initial draft proposal was as follows. Using a Twitter bot to find and juxtapose the very real symptoms of an OCD disorder with flippant “ tweets ”. Using the term “OCD” in it’s correct context would help others understand not only the diversity of the disorder but acknowledge its seriousness and complexity. This initiative targets two people, the victims and the perpetrator.
After pitching the draft proposal to a number of my peers I was given a broad range of constructive criticism. The session provided me with an array of valuable insights. The reach, effectiveness and longevity of the proposal were the key areas of critique.
Being limited to one social media channel, the proposal would fall short in reaching a wider audience. My peers noted the effectiveness of using juxtaposition. They stated the use of juxtaposition was a great way of putting a problem in perspective. My peers questioned whether the idea may fall short without the aid of visuals.
The session allowed areas of uncertainty surrounding the project to be examined and critiqued providing a more holistic route to explore for a successful design solution.
Title: “Semantic mutation”
How do we prevent the severity of OCD being diluted by semantic satiation. I wish to address the semantics surrounding mental health more specifically OCD. OCD has become synonymous with words such as neat, tidy and organised. Words that are usually have a positive association. Confusion arises with thinking OCD is a quirky personality trait or a preference. Due to this, the perception of its severity has been diluted. As the disconnect between language and its symptoms widen, stigma increases. This is coupled with the stigma associated with mental illness in general . Without visibly apparent symptoms mental illness is often seen as secondary to a physical illness.
The misrepresentation of OCD is largely due to a concept called “semantic satiation”.This is a phenomenon whereby the uninterrupted repetition of a word eventually leads to a sense that the word has lost it’s meaning. This is what has happened in the way we talk about OCD as we see evidence of this across a wide array of social channels. Tweets include “I’m so OCD”, “the weather is so bipolar” and “I’m so depressed right now”. The context that surrounds this is always a mundane issue or situation. These undermine the term’s meaning; normalising the illness. Use of hyperbole
Show how we have become desensitised. Expose how language has mutated. Show how semantic satiation has changed our perception. Close the disconnect between language and the perception of the severity of OCD’s symptom. Take the form of a generative installation.
Taking a similar therapeutic approach in the way you change OCD behaviour to help alleviate semantic satiation. Borrow from cognitive behavioural therapy and exposure therapy. Print collateral will support. The outcome is a digital response in a physical space.