Post 10: Reflection & Proposition

There is always one great positive that outweighs any other about having tutorial times. One thing I am glad to have is being surrounded by people who are familiar with the topic and who have been there as a weekly constant to be familiar with my own personal research. They have seen the ideas and the concepts scraped, developed and explored. It would be rather annoying to repeat myself every week about my idea, but having that space to verbally explain my idea is its own channel for developing.

As a pair we were able to discuss my previous problem statement, understand the tone needs work with improvement of vocabulary choices. From there we commenced a game to bounce ideas back and forth to clarify and simplify my ideas. In effect, that gave me an understanding to narrow down my problem, and directing a proper line of action,whilst learning what my draft proposition is effective at doing and whether it was appropriate.

During my time to open up my ideas, my tutor – Chris, was able to listen in on my draft proposition and became another mind to bounce ideas from. Though I felt as though I had been able to explore all my options, at the time being firm to make something generative. I was in my own fault, had ignored the possibilities that data visualisation had to offer to solve my problem statement.

Proposition: Mental Health: Blurred Lines

(Data Visualisation)

Since the digital age, the internet has been constantly evolving and adatping. As a result, on certain social platforms – for example Facebook – has developed an online culture amongst young adults that use terminology from mental health and use them in a joking and mocking context. As a result of this, has created a space where mental health is humorised and desensitises the severity of the issue.

From preliminary research, those who have done this can be loosely grouped into three categories:

  1. Those who do so as a means to cope with their own battles with it
  2. Those who want to talk about it but can’t do so unless in this light-hearted way
  3. Those who are completely uninformed by the severity of it

The change we want through our design is directed at those who are unaware of how they are using their words online. We want them to become informed and mindful of their actions. Though it may be quick and easy to type a seemingly innocent joke online, their words can cause a detrimental effect on those who are battling something within themselves and can cause the reader to take offence. We have noticed that this online culture doesn’t get transformed in the mannerism between people when they interact in the real world.

The best result from our design is to give everyone an enlightenment and revolutionise the way we interact online and hope it can transcend into the real world too. This mindfulness can help as one of the small steps taken to battle with the many other issues that revolve around mental health.

‘Mental Health: Blurred Lines’ would be a motion graphic video that composes of data visualisations on the usage of terms like “depression”, “kill myself” “rather be dead” on Facebook. This short video will be a story telling that slowly guides the watcher to understand how a small joke can escalate and make them reflect when they thought the line was crossed. This will guide them to ask questions of whether this sort of dialogue would still be appropriate in the real world.

 


Negley. K, 2013, New York Times OPED, Keith Negley, viewed 26 September 2016 <http://www.keithnegley.com/NYT-schizo&gt;

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Post 8: Brainstorming possibilities for a design response

At the start of the class, we were asked to succinctly write the problem that we were focusing on. I had originally written down:

“Since the digital age, the internet has been ever evolving and developed an online culture amongst young adults that uses certain slang and visuals that humorise the severity of mental heath”

Though at the time it seemed like an appropriate summation, upon reflection I feel like the piece I had written was harsh and overly biased. This is something I will focus on and refine before the third task.

With this issue and problem in mind. From last weeks final brainstorming session, my final had come up with three ideas:

  • Using Data Visualisation to compare the vocabulary that is used online against what may be said in real life
  • Data Visualisation of misused of certain phrases that involve mental health or “I’d rather kill myself”
  • Generative: a platform which collects all the emojis that are used in connection with tweets/ social media posts addressing or mentioning mental health – whether as a serious comment or an ignorant statement
  • Generative: a wall that collects these social media quotes and puts them together, where everyone can see and are presented with the data
  • Generative: a device that prints out stickers based on how you feel, and these stickers are scattered around to create advocacy.

Though these ideas do something, their main purpose is to bring awareness on the problem that I’ve highlighted. I know I can’t be overly ambitious and try and change everyones’ mentality about the issue but I can try and encourage discussion as this leads to another issue of mental health being too “taboo” to be discussed.

 

I propose that I create an event or platform to bring the online dialogue into the real world. As many who talk about mental health off-handedly are doing one of three things:

  • it is their coping mechanism
  • it is the only way to talk about mental health
  • it is an ignorant statement

Comedy and mental health isn’t always considered something to work together. Mental Health is a very serious and sensitive topic, this may hurt those who do have mental health issues  and feel as though with humor we are belittling their suffering. However, mental health as we have seen has become more relatable in satirical comics as mentioned in my third post here. Though this idea hasn’t been completely fleshed out, the idea is to bring comedic guests who can lightheartedly talk about their dealings with their own mental health battles. Their charisma and personality can create a comfortable atmosphere that allows and encourages a forum for discussion.

Post 9: Visual documentation of the brainstorming session

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This is the final brainstorm as a result of working together with my group during the large studio class time. We had stemed out three different ideas, trying to resolve the problem and find an appropriate solution.

My group comprised of a total of five members doing Mental Health as well. Since our first meeting we had learnt that we had different objectives and researched a different area to the overall larger topic. This was of great help, as when we did gather together we each shared different outlooks and perspectives as we had chosen to research different areas. This was highly beneficial as we were able to compare our findings and guide others. Our own personal research was not confined to our own personal research limitations. Our idea generation was well explored whilst exploring each other’s ideas.

However the counter to this would be that our idea generation was still limited to what we all knew, due to the time constraints, my peers did not personally research deeply into my ideas and they could not provide any extension upon my own.

The amusing part of our collaboration was that we had a mutual understanding of the brief, and at the time of the creation of this mind map was that we were all on the more confused side of what is asked from us. As a collective that meant we were all lost together about what was expected.

Post 6: Scraping the web for Data

The internet has become a growing resource for information. With so much data available on the internet, to reach what we need and to find credible information is by searching, and filtering through to find the most utilisable data.

As the internet is being filled with data, new technologies are being created. Lucky for the most of us there are search engines and data scrapers to refine our searches. From that point we are able to collate the data into documents that can be utilised in design.

At this point in time I wanted to collect data to back up my idea that there is desensitisation evident on social media. So I looked up different searches along the lines of:

  • “Today is…”
  • “I’m so depressed..”

My google sheets didn’t work the twitter archiver very well. I then attempted to use another recommended application called “Data Pipeline”.

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-1-13-01-am

 

I did go through those first searches to begin with but I then preferred to have results showing intellectual discussion. I chose to search up “mental health cope” and “mental health joke.”

 

 

I preferred how it was presented in a preview. This showcased the most popular tweets. When I received the data results on excel, the results showed all the retweets which were repetitive despite receiving 500 tweets. I learnt the importance of filtering within a search, to exclude, and the importance of knowing which words would retrieve the best results. From what I had gathered I had learnt:

  • Twitter is self-aware of joking about mental health can be a coping mechanism
  • There is an invisible and undefined line when a joke about mental health is inappropriate
  • New Zealand has a terrible mental health system
  • There is a belief/trend that only those with mental health issues may joke about it
  • intellectual discussion can happen, it is not all angry ranting

 


North Concepts Inc, 2016, Export your Twitter Searches to Excel, viewed 4 September 2016 <https://northconcepts.com/tools/twitter-search/?q#climatechange&searchButton=>

Post 3: Mapping the participants (human and non-human) and constructing an image archive

This is just one of the mind maps produced by my class group. Unfortunately, I was absent that particular week, however, I am forever thankful thatI was put in a group of intelligent girls who were able to assist me with understanding what I had missed.

It is easy to forget everyone that is involved with a part. My group was quick to explain that there are many who touch and participate with the issue. It’s also important to understand the motives behind each actor and what power they have about the issue, and whether their influence can influence another actor on the topic.

 

 


1.  This particular piece is an editorial image to accompany an article in the New York Times. The content of the article was about the relationship the author had with her daughter as she was battling chronic depression and her fear that had her daughter had inherited it because she showed signs of it as a child. This isn’t true though. What I love most about this piece is how colourful it is, and it doesn’t rely on the symbolism of colours (for example it isn’t entirely Black and White) to convey depression. IT plays with textures and it is overall quite stylistic. It doesn’t show depression to have the individual as the main salient in the image. It understands there is a relationship outside – the daughter.

 


2. This is also an editorial piece that was accompanying an article. This article was about Anxiety disorders, and this piece shows those who can be affected by it. This image without context does not scream out Anxiety disorder, nor does it suggest any mental illness. The idea that is conveyed is that it can “affect any age, culture or gender, but its prevalence varies depending on which region of the world you look at.” I find this striking and just like the previous image it doesn’t overuse the dark and cool tone colour palettes, or the visual metaphors.

3. This image is a comic, and though comics are not always seen as a visual style with the same integrity as an editorial piece or classical artwork this one is relatable. It is something that is appropriate for our era, in which mental health is only ever brought up because it is too risky to speak about it in a serious manner. It is minimalistic and its message is just as so.

4. This is an example that uses a lot of the visual metaphors but in a more tasteful manner. The photograph is black and white with a warm undertone that is contrasted against the many blue toned works. Mental health is described as an invisible disease, therefore many visuals try and communicate the feeling and sensations that can’t be seen. Depression is described as a feeling  of drowning. This photographer and model have recreated this but captured it as a sensation that you feel trapped in.

 


5. This is one image from a series that Edward Honaker did after he was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. The series is black and white, as many of this theme are. This photograph plays with white space, usually in the context of design it is breathing area and it is peaceful. However, how Honaker frames it, it is isolating and it is an abyss.

 


6. Beckey Netley is another photographer that decided to reach out to her camera and photoshop while she was going through her mental illness battle. Her images are surreal but unlike the common trend of black and white photography, they are colourful and almost whimsical. This piece is titled paper thin, and she expressed how she felt fragile and weak during her battle.

 


7. The photographer known online as Beethy had suffered from severe anxiety in 2009. He describes the sensation as being overwhelming and it was so bad that he had gotten suicidal. However, the photographer understands that it is something he has to live with for the rest of his life. He used a model to help capture how he felt. It is destructive, it shows vulnerability and its in colour. It shows mental health as more destructive than in previous images.

 


8. This is an illustrated poster about child depression which is something that isn’t often talked about. It depicts it as a layered and complicated sensation. It is colourful, and relies heavier on textures. However, the child within this image isn’t distorted in any way.

 


9. This is a simple illustration that is similar to Gemma Correll’s illustration, it relies on visualising the relationship between depression and the victim. The depression is personified and is shown as darkness which is starkly contrasted against the main person in the image. The relationship is subtle, depression is consuming but isn’t seen as chaotic as depicted in Beethy’s photograph.

 

10. This is a similar to the other images, it is a photo manipulation. His images are described as being an educational resource for those who may not understand what people with depression often encounter. He used his photography as a therapy for battling his depression like many of our photographers. The images aren’t all black and white in his series, they use visual metaphors to describe emotions.


Beethy, 2012, Anxiety, viewed 22 August 2016 <http://beethy.deviantart.com/art/anxiety-314402192>
Correll, G. 2016, Nope, Modern Met, viewed 22 August 2016 <http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/gemma-correll-mental-health-illustrations>
Elenabs, 2016, 10 Things you may not know about Anxiety Disorder, The Huffington Post, viewed 22 August 2016 <http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/10-takeaways-from-the-largest-study-on-anxiety-around-the-world_us_5750a498e4b0ed593f13df97?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063>
Flynn, D. 2016, viewed 22 August 2016 <http://dutchuncle.co.uk/dermot-flynn>
Honaker, E. 2015, I’m Sorry, Daily Mail, viewed 22 August 2016 <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3240571/Photographer-suffering-depression-captures-mental-illness-haunting-series-self-portraits-raise-awareness-disorder.html>
Hopkins, C. 2016, Haunting Photography, viewed 22 August 2016 <http://www.refinery29.com/depression-photo-series-christian-hopkins?crlt.pid=camp.mUOFQRM6FWxD#slide>
Netley, B. 2014, Paper Thin, Becky Netley Photography, viewed 22 August 2016 <https://www.facebook.com/BeckyNetleyPhotography/photos/a.171566429587623.41394.171561799588086/722400021170925/?type=3&theater>
Park, E. 2016, Mapping Individuals, viewed 22 August 2016
Sampson, C. 2014, DEPRESSION, CSPhotography, viewed 22 August 2016 <https://www.facebook.com/christiansampsonphotography/photos/a.910789085666180.1073741837.125853560826407/610569542354804/?type=3&theater>
Scarry, B. 2009, viewed 22 August 2016 <https://www.flickr.com/photos/bottscarry/3918617182/>
Wang, A. 2012, Depression, New York Times, viewed 22 August 2016 <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/29/opinion/sunday/is-depression-inherited.html?_r=0>

“Intermental”

From my previous research, statistics showed that mental illness was most prevalent in 18-24 year olds and that every 1 in 5 Australians suffer from some sort of mental illness.

Mental illness is affecting a much younger population and David McCandless may be able to answer why. His data visualisation project for Information is Beautiful explores the connection between technology and mental/emotional disorders. He spent two years on the computer completing a book and observed how his excessive exposure to technology and the internet affected his behaviour.

“Recently, I finished a long, two-year stretch at a computer creating my book. Feeling the effect of such intense screen use, I took the time to observe and catalogue how it affected my mind, emotions and behaviours.”¹

McCandless drew simple infographics that represent each behaviour he recorded with a short explanation below it.

Here are his findings:

intermental_1
McCandless D. (2016)
intermental_3
McCandless D. (2016)
intermental_3
McCandless D. (2016)
intermental_4
McCandless D. (2016)
intermental_5
McCandless D. (2016)
intermental_6
McCandless D. (2016)

He believes that, this “increasing number of stories about internet addiction and the effect of constant device use on our minds, lives and relationships” has been very detrimental.

Upon looking at his findings I realised that many of them applied to myself:
1.) FOMO: Fear of Missing Out
2.) Hypermind
3.) Backlog Depression
4.) Online Identity Disturbance
5.) Notification Trough
6.) Info-dependency
7.) E-mail Allergy

Being someone that experiences high levels of stress and anxiety it made me wonder just how much technology has contributed to my experiences. I always knew that it had played some sort of a role but never really to what extent. All these small worries have the potential to accumulate and turned into extra stress.
What I like about this data visualisation project is that it allows users to pinpoint and digest in the ways in which technology can impact them, mentally, emotionally and behaviourally, in smaller and easy to understand pieces. Often we’re bombarded with heavy articles and textbooks that can scare us with statistics and studies and even confuse us. However, what David McCandless did, was filter out the technical talk and made it relatable and understandable. Even though his take on it was quite light-hearted it does show how serious this issue has become.

But where do we go from here?

Unfortunately, I wish the solution was as easy as, “minimise your time with technology” but it is next to impossible to do that living in a world ruled by the digital world. “From a culture of distraction and boot-camps for addicted teens to the“electronic apocalypse””¹ our generation and the future ones to come are now more susceptible to various mental health issues. Maybe, our first step is realisation and honesty. As designers we can help raise awareness by visually presenting these statistics and truths that are often so heavy and harrowing to take in, in a more light-hearted way.

1.) Information is Beautiful 2016, Intermental, viewed 18th August 2016,
<http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/intermental/&gt;