States of Mind (2015)
Benjamin Koslowski, Karen Ingham, Roberto Bottazzi, Brendan Dawes
States of Mind (https://vimeo.com/122330273) was a collaborative project between design practitioners, academics and the Foundation of Art and Creative Technology (FACT) in Liverpool. It was supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s ‘Creative Exchange’ project and formed part of FACT Liverpool’s ‘Group Therapy’ exhibition.
The project offered a hybrid analog-digital platform that prompted visitors to represent and share their individual states-of-mind in response to the question “What does your mental health look like right now?” Participants used the ‘mental object machine’ to reflect on their state of mind via a manipulable digital object that enabled them to create an abstract visual ‘language’ to externalise their feelings. Object images were shared and publicly displayed on screens within the public areas of the building, allowing them to be understood not just as individual states-of-mind, but as a means of visualising a range of embodied emotions through potential cross-readings of the virtual objects as introspective artefacts. Further, workshops with 3D-printed states-of-mind (affective objects) were used to expand on individual contributions and to extend the conversation to the city of Liverpool. The project interrogated the notion of ‘digital phenomenology’, pushing boundaries between physical and virtual representational languages – in this instance a language of mental health.
States of Mind involved over 2000 participants and was selected as part of a best practice design innovation case study presented at Westminster to the All Parliamentary Design and Innovation Committee. It has also featured in international and national conferences.