Category Archives: Design and emotion

Reflections on talking and listening – Idea explained

Depression has become one of the most disabling contemporary conditions: many more people are being treated with anti-depressant drugs every year with no evidence of major long-term improvement. The way our society is treating depression is questionable, and this has intrigued me sufficiently to create a project about it.

The project is based firstly on user-centered research, including interviews with depression sufferers and people who have previously had experience with depression. The materials were analysed through brain-storming sessions, producing a brain map that was divided into two categories: information gained from depression sufferers; and materials obtained from non-depression sufferers, including friends and families of sufferers.

I discovered that depression is exacerbated by social circumstances: the most important points including resistance to open discussion of problems, lack of willingness to listen to emotional concerns, and lack of understanding of people’s differences. These vital points informed most of my project content, and since they are not exclusive to depression sufferers, my targeted audience therefore moved to a more general public. This piece has since become a public-awareness campaign about the importance of emotional communication through talking and listening, to prevent social conditions –such as perceived peer pressure – from affecting our mental health.

This project is user-dependent and is an ongoing platform, encouraging the audience to be a part of a large community in order to spread information. I am hoping to develop it further into a fully functional, web-based service that could be delivered through new interfaces, such as iPhones.

Reflections on Talking and Listening is an entirely web-based campaign promoting the importance of open discussions and dynamic dialogues from a wide range of audiences. Unlike other public promotional pieces, I have avoided using traditional print-based formats, such as posters and leaflets. My aim is to create a paper-free system that has the same function and effects, and is ongoing, user-interactive and environmentally sustainable.

The people who have influenced me the most

Carl Jung (1875-1961), Swiss psychiatrist, thinker and the founder of analytical psychology

Carl Jung (1875-1961), Swiss psychiatrist, thinker and the founder of analytical psychology


Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986), Soviet Russian filmmaker, film editor, film theorist, poet and opera director

Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986), Soviet Russian filmmaker, film editor, film theorist, poet and opera director


Alejandro Jodorowsky, (born February 7, 1929, in Tocopilla, Chile, of a Jewish Ukrainian immigrant family) is a Chilean scholar in comparative religion, playwright, director, producer, composer, actor, mime, comic book writer, tarot reader, historian and psychotherapist.

Alejandro Jodorowsky, (born February 7, 1929, in Tocopilla, Chile, of a Jewish Ukrainian immigrant family) is a Chilean scholar in comparative religion, playwright, director, producer, composer, actor, mime, comic book writer, tarot reader, historian and psychotherapist.


Sir. Lu Hsun (1881 - 1936), the founder of modern Chinese literature

Sir. Lu Hsun (1881 - 1936), the founder of modern Chinese literature


Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono


Wholeness and the implicate order, by David Bohm

Wholeness and the implicate order, by David Bohm


Maya Deren (1917 - 1961), avant - garde filmmarker and film theorist

Maya Deren (1917 - 1961), avant - garde filmmarker and film theorist


La Jetee (1962), a film by Chris Marker

La Jetee (1962), a film by Chris Marker


Denys lasdun (1914-2001), English Architect

Denys lasdun (1914-2001), English Architect


Jockum Nordstrom

Jockum Nordstrom


Yokoland is a design studio based in Oslo, Norway

Yokoland is a design studio based in Oslo, Norway


I like this image designed by Vasava

I like this image designed by Vasava


Second Life (SL) is a virtual world developed by Linden Lab that launched on June 23, 2003

Second Life (SL) is a virtual world developed by Linden Lab that launched on June 23, 2003

Reflections on Talking and Listening, commentary by Dean Kissick

“Listen more, even when it’s dull and boring.”

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, the central concept of Reflections On Talking And Listening; three animated shorts promoting the importance of emotional communication in order to help yourselves and those around you. With ever-rising levels of depression, especially in our developed world, it is more important than ever to talk to each other, and also listen to each other. Jiang, a young Chinese illustrator/animator living and working in London, has a self-proclaimed interest in “anthropology with an emphasis on psychology and the human condition”. Her Royal College of Art degree show project about emotional support is based upon extensive interviews recorded with a series of depressed individuals, and their thoughtful responses are played back anonymously as disembodied voices; drifting over animated talking heads that resemble monolithic mountains floating in a dream-like landscape of washed-out trees, waterfalls and songbirds (scene 1), over a desolate wasteland underneath an ominous gathering of gloomy clouds (scene 2), over a shattered visage of fragmented faces brought slowly back together (scene 3). These visions are contemplative and melancholic, but all suffused with a calming, ethereal atmosphere of understated beauty.
– Dean Kissick, Tank Magazine editor

Visual and Art Direction: Echao Jiang
Sound: Robin Barstow
All Rights Reserved, Royal College of Art 2009

Ghost town

My final Project is closely connected with this trip I made back in 2007, the summer before I started my MA at RCA, to the city of DunHuang and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in the wild west of China minaland. The very best memory from the trip was spending a morning in the Yadan landform park. It is an area filled with miraculous sculptures created by our mother nature: a physiognomy landscape formed by Aeolian erosion composed of various standing sandy-stone sculptures formed over a long period of time as the result of the frequent sandy storms in the region. Because of the eeriness of the sound of the wind blowing at night, the locals refer to it as Ghost Town. I can still clearly remember the sound of the wind, it felt as if I was in a closed room when I shouted, but the wind manipulated my voice so It came back in layers and layers of crisp voices, the experience is indescribable.

The pictures I have taken during the trip had later had lots of impact on my creative process when drawing the images for my final project. I found my mind reflecting back to the bizarre landscapes from time to time when trying to come up with ideas for mind images, I have since developed strong interests in studying the relationship between the mind and nature. Sometimes seeing new things can really open up my library of ideas and inspire new thoughts, isn’t it great how one single trip like this could keep me inspired for the next 2 years!

Untitled-1

Untitled-5

Untitled-10

Final setting for scene one

scene1_final0305

Another style test

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Laura’s working to beat stigma attached to mental illnesses

picture-3FOR Laura May, the diagnosis came as something of a relief, but in reality it was the start of a much bigger problem.

After visiting her doctor last year with symptoms ranging from hair loss to panic attacks, she was diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar disorder.

With the benefit of hindsight, she can see the problem had been going on for some time, and at last she was able to find a solution.

Now the 25-year-old is using her experiences to help promote the Time to Change campaign, aimed at reducing the stigma attached to mental health problems.

“I’d been treated for depression since I was about 14 and it’s a long time to have a problem,” she said.

“So when I was actually diagnosed, it was a relief.

“I had gone to the doctor with various symptoms and he put me in for blood tests, a CT scan, everything, but it came back fine.

“Then he said it could be something mental which was affecting me physically, so I saw a psychiatrist at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford. They diagnosed me as having rapid cycling bipolar disorder.

“It takes hold so quickly that in the space of a week you can go from feeling suicidal to being totally elated.”

Laura has learned to accept her illness, but it means life is not all plain sailing.

She said: “It does mean I’m very creative. I paint, I write and I have a lot of energy to channel, but it has negative effects.

“I’m short-tempered and I get very angry. I also have a tendency to set myself up for a fall.

“I tend to spend a lot of money because I don’t think about the consequences of my actions. My partner has had a lot to put up with.”

Laura, from Braintree, has also had seven jobs in the past three years. She said: “Employers have had a mixed response to my illness. Some have been great, very understanding, but I get so restless.

“I find if I’m doing a good, challenging job, I can stay there.

“But companies see my high absence levels and that I need flexible working hours so I can attend psychiatric appointments.

“Every so often the doctors decide to change my medication a bit and when that happens, I can get symptoms that would mean I wasn’t a good employee.

“My family have been great. They make a joke of it, especially when I forget whole conversations, and that really helps me.

“My friends haven’t been so tolerant.

“I can’t go out and get drunk like I used to because that would remove the reason for taking my medication. So a lot of friendships have fallen by the wayside.

“The good thing about this campaign is that it’s about educating people about mental health.

“The first thing I did when I was diagnosed was go to the library and learn all about it.”

One in four people sufferer illness

TIME to Change is an ambitious project aimed at ending discrimination against people with mental health problems.

The programme features 35 schemes across the country and is led by Mental Health Media, Mind and Rethink.

Its research will be evaluated by the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, London.

It is the first anti-discrimination programme aimed at changing people’s behaviour and recording the change.

Hilary Caprani, spokesman for Rethink and partner in Time to Change, said: “It’s an attitudinal change. A lot of the problems are created by ignorance.

“We’re more open about depression now than we were years ago, but we have a long way to go.

“There is still a stigma. People still struggle to get jobs if they have had time off for depression in the past.

“We know of one woman who had cancer. Her employer was really supportive and she got better, but when she was off with depression, they didn’t want to know. However, mental health problems are a lot more common than people realise.

“About one in four people will suffer from it at some point in their lives. So at some point in your live, most will know someone who has been affected.”

People don’t realise the effect of the stigma, she says.

“It can stop people getting the help they need and can lead to relationships breaking down,” she said.

The campaign has been given £16million by the Big Lottery Fund and £2million from Comic Relief.

5:10pm Wednesday 4th March 2009

By Lynne Milford »

Extracted from Braintree and Witham Times