Minor project proposal form


Yesterday was the deadline for the minor project proposal form. You can view this piece of literary genius by clicking the header above. 

I underestimated how difficult it would be to put my idea into words. Up until now it’s been a glimmer of something purely in my mind. Writing about it seemed incredibly tricky as I couldn’t find the right words to express meaning in the way I’d intended. I guess that’s why this will be a piece of visual art.

I knew for the minor project that I would have to work in my usual way and stick to what I know, not only because there’s an undergraduate dissertation to consider, but fundamentally because I can’t seem to work in a way that involves something unrelated to my own private emotions. I know this sounds rather self indulgent and that’s probably true (and I understand the media backlash against the confessional art of artists such as Tracy Emin) but if it doesn’t resonate, strike a chord or whatever you want to call it, then quite simply it’s NOT going to be good: good enough to motivate me to make it in the first place, nor good enough for me to be confident in the showing.   

Interestingly my eagerness at the onset of a new idea but my reluctance to finish (which is a regular occurence for me) echoes one of the themes I will be incorporating. A mental health condition called cyclothymia. 

Whilst I don’t think that I am affected by cyclothymia, I have been reading up on the illness which cropped up when I was researching symptoms of my own that are not too dissimilar. From what I learned of cyclothymia, which is known as a mild form of bi-polar, it would seem that sufferers rarely get diagnosed or seek medical help because they become so accustomed to living with extreme moods that they become experts at covering up, or just think that they are normal and it’s everyone else with the problem. Doctors are reluctant to treat it because: they don’t fully understand it, and have misconceptions about the severity of these “ups and downs.”

Some of the medical case studies I read, which feature actual accounts of sufferers, were harrowing because to anyone who experiences or has experienced living with somebody affected by severe and often irrational moodswings there is an echo of truth that is undeniable.

I had stumbled upon cyclothymia purely by chance but I wondered; are conditions of poor mental health more prevailant than we’re told? According to medical study we hide it so well that how would we even know ourselves if our behaviour is normal? Do we just have a bad temperament or is there more to the story?

Because my dissertation is concerned with the psychology of the snapshot photograph and a large chunk of that is to do with the sunny face we put on family life. I couldn’t help but link these two areas of research in my mind. Personally I was looking for answers to a problem I have been experiencing and trying to ignore since my early 20s and professionally I was reading threory about the ideologies we create for ourselves through the visual history of our families. Coupled with the funeral it seems that the mental health concern was the albatross around the neck of the family archive. Hidden amongst the kodak cliches: the picnic, the beach, the new car and the cat, is the mental health concern which affects God knows how many of us. But thankfully, because there are no pictures for it, it doesn’t have to exist and if it does then its place is outside of our families collected memories.

http://www.mcmanweb.com/ is a good information resource for those dealing with cyclothymia.

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