Reflection and Proposition: The Mind Spectrum

Post 10

Over the past week, I have been brainstorming and honing in on my proposition in the practice area of Generative System / Participatory design. As stated in post 9, I wanted to visualise the ‘invisible’ nature of mental health issues and create a change in perspective or attitude in the people that are involved. My first discussion drew out a few problems, the main being:

  • How will this event attract people in the first place to participate? Their incentive?
  • What are you exactly achieving? Unclear – needs clarification and distilled down
  • What are the design restrictions and generative system rules applied?

After some visual and theoretical research on generative systems and design from last week, I have come up with an improved design proposition.

Project title: The Mind Spectrum

The Issue: The stigma attached to mental health issues discourages ‘open conversation’ and the action of seeking support. This project aims to provide new insight, a changed perception and attitude towards the negative stigma.

Practice type: Generative System / Participatory Design

The possible change: A changed perspective and attitude towards Mental Health giving heightening a sense of importance to the issue as well as making it a more approachable topic (for 18-24yo).

The design action to support change: Creating a space that is a fresh and fun approach allowing creative expression on the topic of Mental Health. The space also allows a chance to meet and connect with new people who have similar interests encouraging a sense of community and support.

THE DETAILS

The participants are invited to draw/ illustrate however they like on a tablet screen on a given word that they choose. The words consist of 3 words for 3 sets. Each set being on a topic of stress, depression, and anxiety – the most common mental health issue for people between the age of 18-24. The 3 words is a spectrum of stress, anxiety and depression to its antonym with an inbetween word. For example:

STRESS – UNEASY – RELAXED

ANXIETY – INDIFFERENCE – CALMNESS

DEPRESSION – COMPLACENT – CHEERFUL  

This is then saved on the server and played as simple animation screenings on the wall for other people to watch. In addition, the participant will receive their drawing as a designed postcard immediately printed. Not only will they receive their illustration postcard, but also the other 2 words in the word set that other people have drawn. This is the incentive of the activity, allows the person to see the changes of the emotional spectrum. This aspect of the generative system gives a chance to see how similar or different others perceive each word which in result gives a new angle of understanding and possible a shift in perspective about mental health.

Users also have a choice to input their social media account information (instagram, twitter account etc) which will be printed on their postcard illustration highlighting the proposition’s ‘connection’ aspect by allowing Sydney’s young adults and creatives to build a network. As this event is aimed for people interested in art/design/culture/mental health, there is a high chance there may be local artists, designers or students involved who then can keep in touch after this event on the social media platform.

THE RULES

Simple drawing constraints will be given for each set to maintain and highlight how each word changes to its opposite within a boundary.

For example:
– Using only lines, express what STRESS/UNEASY/RELAXED is represents to you.

– Using only circles and dots, express what DEPRESSION/COMPLACENT/CHEERFUL represents to you.

– Using only zig zags, express what ANXIETY/INDIFFERENCE/CALMNESS represents to you.

VISUAL EXAMPLES OF OUTCOME

Screen Shot 2016-09-27 at 8.06.41 pm.png

FEEDBACK AND REFINEMENT

The feedback received from peers and tutor was extremely helpful in refining my proposition. A few points I have taken into deeper consideration and will be changing is placing this activity within a proper context of a mental health workshop aimed at 18-24 year olds who are interested in art/design/mental health. ‘The Mind Spectrum’ will be a subpart, a small event within the workshop for the target audience.

In terms of giving a word to illustrate to the user, I was initially thinking of allowing the person to choose 1 word out of the 9. However this will result in uneven data results of the drawings which unbalances the live projection happening in the space. Therefore, the interactive tablet will already have a word chosen for the person to ensure even distribution and a better visualised animation of the word spectrum.

Written by Helen Chang

Image References

Daikoku Studio, 2012, Musashino Art University <http://daikoku.ndc.co.jp/filter/graphic/2012-Musashino-Art-University-2012&gt;, viewed 20 September.

Studio Moniker, 2013, Your Line or Mine, <https://yourlineormine.com/&gt;, viewed 20 September.