This is Not a Battleground (2017)

Moving-image 5:21

This work explores the isolating and adverse effects of attempting to express emotional experience (including what we consider to be mental illness) to others. The film combines recorded performance with digital text and archival footage. The performance involves distortion of the face and restriction of breathing, creating a suffocating and unsettling experience for the viewer. This is exacerbated by clips of archival footage detailing methods of restraint and control used to deal with those experiencing mental illness. Presented as part dialogue, part monologue, the film highlights the social influences on inner dialogue. In doing so, the work addresses the parallels between the social battleground we enact between those considered ‘sane’ and ‘mentally ill’ with the inner turmoil of the individual. In line with the thoughts of psychiatrist R. D. Laing, this pulls into question whether these circumstances are best conceptualised as battlegrounds at all.

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