The idea of basing a project on Anxiety stemmed from the need to create work that was integral to my day-to-day life in order to keep it constantly relevant so I would not lose interest. My aim was to try to explain through art how intense and terrifying it is to experience a panic attack and also to try and understand why anxiety is such a prominent part of my life.
My initial research was based around artists who interested me due to their style of filmmaking and their relevant content. Artists included Nam June Paik, for his use of repetition and overloading of imagery. Bill Viola for his underwater pieces, Pipalotti Rist for her style of display and her interest in feminist issues, Guvnar Nelson for the film ‘my name is Oonar’ and Bruce Nauman for his corridor pieces that physically generate claustrophobia and discomfort.
The film footage I began to collect was mainly from situations I found myself in that caused anxiety e.g. waiting for a train, being underwater, being in busy overwhelming environments. After conducting a questionnaire on Facebook I began to collect film footage based what made other people anxious. I then began to use the footage to create abstract films that explored the effects that anxiety has on the body and the mind.
My various film editing experiments and ideas lead to the creation of the films ‘irrational thought process’ and ‘controlling the uncontrollable.’ These were the first films I had created with any sort of narrative. The first explores the feeling of complete loss of control and the second in contrast explores control. ‘Irrational thought process’ along with my other more experimental pieces went on to provide the basis of my installation.
After starting the second module, the staging and reception of my piece became equally as important as its content. I decided that it was as important to keep the narrative within the installation as well as generating an all encompassing viewing experience. I split my piece in to three layers in order to have 3
projections and each layer was created to represent a different part of anxiety 1. Reality 2. The physical effects of anxiety 3. The effect anxiety has on the mind. I edited each film separately so that all three would play in sync. The installation builds gradually and reaches a climax at 2 minutes, at which point all three films reach their peak. The experience then slowly eases and returns to normality.
Anxiety stems from a feeling of lack of control. If we feel we have total control over a situation there is no need for anxiety. In ‘Controlling the uncontrollable’ I added a voice over to a piece of footage to make a normally uncontrollable situation appear controllable. The two film pieces were played in the same exhibition with the intention that they where viewed one after another in order to experience a huge contrast.