PSYCHOSIS SIMULATION WORKSHOPS
BECAUSE OUR MINDS MATTER
"A very educational and authentic experience that combines multiple techniques to simulate the real experience of psychosis. This is a very useful tool and I would recommend it for both health professionals and people interested in understanding the world of the psychotic patient. Either for self-knowledge or in an attempt to empathize with a loved one. One of the most illuminating experiences I have had in my 14 years experience as a psychiatrist. Excellent experience."
"This is truly an awesome experience that every professional in mental health should experience. I believe the experience for those who take it seriously will alter how they work with clients."
"This experience really is an eye-opener. No amount of books, articles, or patient reports can simulate this experience. I am thankful for the opportunity to experience empathy that is more real. Every mental health professional has to experience this."
With our team of experienced creative actors, we guide you into a world of altered senses. THE WEARABLE allows a person to temporarily surrender to a cinematic narrative in which reality is altered in such a way that it becomes similar to the diverse subjective experiences of psychosis. The experience of THE WEARABLE enables a wearer to see and hear his or her everyday world while simultaneously being influenced by real-time semantic information layers and digital video and audio effects.
The experience lasts about 12 minutes and includes several scenes and acts. In the experience, you are asked to participate in a (fictional) medical experiment, in which you allow your mind to be uplinked to the mind of 'A Girl Named Jamie', who is in psychosis. Your task, while in her mind, is to follow her memories, her voices, and her thoughts, and find clues about her experiences. Be prepared to play The Movie Game, to meet The Oracle, to take on power over color and become pregnant with technology as your reality and the reality of Jamie intertwine. Each experience is uniquely determined by the computer as well as the wearer.
LEVELS OF LEARNING
EXPERIENCE-BASED INTERACTIVE WORKSHOPS
1. PERSONAL LEARNING
WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE...
...to hear voices?
...to want to obey them?
...to struggle with different realities at the same time?
2. SHARED LEARNING
HOW DOES IT INFLUENCE YOUR...
...ability to speak?
...ability to move?
...ability to connect?
3. INTEGRATED LEARNING
HOW TO USE THESE INSIGHTS...
...in an organisation or institution?
...in public spaces?
EVOLVING THE STORY OF PSYCHOSIS TOGETHER
Understanding psychosis can be difficult, even for experienced professionals. A glimpse through our 'psychotic lens' may bring mind-shifting insights that influence policies and methods of interaction. Shedding old ideas and embracing new ones.
Students are the professionals of the future. Doctors, nurses, teachers, politicians, police officers and prison guards all deal with psychosis throughout their careers. By understanding the subjective experiences of psychosis one obtains early career advantages.
As family or friends of someone in psychosis, it can be extremely hard to know what somebody goes through. An individual glimpse helps to make sense of why psychosis can be so challenging. Learning by feeling is a great way to add to a path of life-long learning.
As a society, we are connected with each other. If we want to be able to recognize psychosis on time in someone else (or ourselves), we need to build on our empathy skills. Empathy requires informed activation. It's time to change the story!
BOOK A WORKSHOP WITH THE WEARABLE
We don't have a language for the senses. Feelings are images, sensations are like musical sounds
~ Anaïs Nin
EVOLVING THE STORY OF PSYCHOSIS
Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards ~Kierkegaard
Recent research suggests that 1 in 13 people may experience a psychotic break before the age of 75. It is prevalent, yet hidden. It is feared and misunderstood. Psychosis is described as a set of symptoms in which thoughts and emotions become so impaired that one loses contact with reality, usually described as 'hallucinations' and 'delusions'. But how useful are these words if they tell us nothing about a person's experience? Psychosis remains a 'black box'.
A lack of understanding is a lack of action, affecting early detection and the time window for prevention. This leads to much unnecessary emotional suffering, loss of work, network and life. The history of how we have dealt with psychosis has been turbulent. Labyrinth Psychotica seeks to build bridges where storytelling is incomplete or failing.
LEARNING THROUGH FEELING
A deficit in soft skills affects relapse, recovery, therapy, trust, and loyalty, and in turn, affects the total costs to society. Our tools aim to generate dialogue and insights that are integral to empathy, awareness, and understanding. Just because we are empathic beings, does not mean we always use it. 'Learning through feeling' activates empathy.
Labyrinth Psychotica not only informs and educates about psychosis we also stimulate individual imagination. We view imagination as our most precious possession. Without imagination, we lose our mental flexibility. A flexible imagination is needed to help with early recognition, early intervention, and prevention, as well as support in recovery. It's time to let the light in.
Art is a wound turned into light ~ Georges Braque
Labyrinth Psychotica was founded by artist Jennifer Kanary Nikolov(a), who calls herself an ‘imagination navigator’. Jennifer's mission is to investigate the physics of thought. In 2005, Jennifer's sister-in-law died by suicide in a state of psychosis. It was only after her death that she realized that she knew little about her subjective experiences. She embarked on a practice-based Media Arts PhD to better understand what psychosis entailed. She researched literature, existing simulations and stories of people with experiences of psychosis to better understand what her sister-in-law had been going through. She found particular patterns which she translated into design principles. This resulted in Labyrinth Psychotica and its two prostheses for imagination: THE WEARABLE and THE LABYRINTH. An entrepreneurial journey began. A summary of her research journey (the dissertation) can be found here.
“The stand out piece for me was Jennifer Kanary Nikolova's 'Labyrinth Psychotica' […]. The gallery staff requested I remove my bags and jacket, and instead adorn a white lab coat. Stepping into the labyrinth, I felt a rush of excitement like I was embarking on a Crystal Maze quest, but that soon wore off when I realized that it was dark, disorientating and a little scary. Moving through the cloth only seemed to reveal more cloth and more darkness, and I wondered when it would end. I could sense my movements becoming increasingly erratic until I stumbled a beautiful light piece amidst the darkness. This installation, in a creative and engaged way, attempts to show the audience how psychosis blends realities and perceptions. I certainly experienced an altered state of mind.”
“Possibly the most elusive of all exhibits at FACT is the Labyrinth Psychotica, forcing even the most stable minds into a weary state of contemplation and uncertainty. As you’re handed a lab coat and led into utter darkness, you’re forced to immerse yourself into the mesmerizing, terrifying and confronting world of psychosis. Immeasurable twists and turns leading you further into the unknown trick your mind into replicating symptoms of psychosis. Expect strobe lighting, claustrophobia and absolute darkness (with whispering voices thrown in to really trip you out).”
“I experienced Labyrinth Psychotica at @FACT_Liverpool on Sunday. It was intense, suffocating and unforgettable.”
PSYCHOSIS SIMULATION FOR GLOBAL SPREAD
A DO-IT-YOURSELF PSYCHOSIS KIT FOR EVERYONE
We are dedicated to raising funds and working to design a scalable version of Labyrinth Psychotica into the world by transporting the system to UNITY design platform.
PUBLIC - EDUCATIONAL - PROFESSIONAL
To achieve this we are working with client ambassadors, pilot testing our impact moving towards a future in which the story of psychosis is forever changed in all levels of society.
HELP CHANGE THE STORY
Years of training experience
Years of research experience
PARTNERS & CLIENTS
A small selection
Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone ~
Concept, Narrative and Overall Design: Jennifer Kanary Nikolov(a)
Software and Game Engine Design: Konstantin Leonenko
Graphic Design: Katja van Stiphout
Structural Sound Design: Konstantin Leonenko
Atmospheric Sound Design: Pinar Temiz with thanks to ‘Free Sound’
Female Voices: 'The Oracle' Laura Schuster, 'Jamie' Jennifer Kanary Nikolov(a)
Male Voices: 'The Father' Alec Kopyt, 'The Mysterious Man' Nikola Nikolov, 'The Electronic Man' Konstantin Leonenko.
Design Cyberfold: Jennifer Kanary Nikolov(a)
Production Cyberfold1: Meg Grant
Design Cyberfold 2: Elian Smits
Production and Design Carrier: Nikola Nikolov, Anja Hertenberger, Lisa Randoe
Camera and Edit: Zoot Derks, Jeanette Groenendaal (Cinematic Scenes Filmed At Dasarts)
Technical Assistance and Advisors: Konstantin Leonenko (general advisor), Marco Wessel (system reproduction), Vladimir Grafov (systems architecture), Jan Trützschler (recording system), Tijs Ham (assistant advisor)
Hardware specifics: Vuzix 1200 VR, Logitec camera, Macbook Pro, Koss Porta Pro Headphones, Wiimote, Hyperjuice
Concept and Design: Jennifer Kanary Nikolov(a)
Labyrinth Build: Nikola Nikolov (Studio-Re-Creation)
LED Hallucination Poles: Rene Wassenburg-Schrikdraad (Hardware), Simon de Bakker - Simbits (Software)
Interactive Design Textile Wall Panels: Meg Grant
Textile Wall Art: Linda Maissan
Sound Design: Tijs Ham (Soundlings), Alina Sleebe (HKU), Pinar Temiz (Soundlings) with thanks to ‘Free Sound’
Hardware Sound: Directional speakers: ACOUSPADES by Miha Ciglar and co
Wall Curtains: Theatex
Special thanks: Ludo Winkelman for his ever-ready extra pair of hands and allowing THE LABYRINTH to grow in his studio and to ‘Everybody Loves Penguins’ for developing the first version of the LED Hallucination Poles with Rene Wassenburg.
Advisors Experience Design
Wouter Kusters, Jannemiek Tukker, Bas Labruyere, Tilly Gerritsma, Niels van Spaandonk, Theo Festen, Lucas Evers
Network and Organisation Support
Janssen: Sjaak Bloem, Eliane Lauwers, Gert Mannaert
Fonds Psychische Gezondheid: Ronald Gorter, Ben Roelands, Mariska Cornelisse, Mitzy Kieffer, Saskia Oskam
Waag Society Institute for Art, Science and Technology, Amsterdam: Sabine Wildevuur, Sacha van Tongeren, Lucas Evers, Raoul Wissink, Tom Demeyer, Peter Fekkes, Bas Withagen, Laurens Schuurkamp, Alex Schaub, Keimpe de Heer, Christine van den Horn, Frank Kresin, and everyone else.
TU Delft: Prof Pieter Jonker
AR Lab KABK: Yolande Kolstee
Living Lab: Gert-Jan Cornel
Plymouth University, Planetary Collegium: Antonio Caronia, Derrick de Kerckhove, Pier Luigi Capucci, Francesco Monico, Antonio Somaini, Jill Scott, Mike Phillips, Michael Punt, Roy Ascott and all my colleagues in particular Natasha Vita-More who inspired the idea of THE WEARABLE and Elif Ayiter for introducing me to the first psychosis simulation.
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR FINANCIAL AND ORGANISATIONAL SUPPORTERS
The mission of the J&J Trust is to: "Make a sustainable, long-term difference to human health."
Without the generous financial support of the J&J Trust the development of The Wearable would simply not have been possible.
Janssen seeks medical breakthroughs wherever they occur, channeling internal expertise and embracing external science to bring the best solutions to people who need them.
Without the instrumental organizational support of Janssen in connecting us to The J&J Trust Labyrinth Psychotica would not exist as it is today.
MIND aims to help prevent psychological problems and support people who are dealing with psychological issues.
Without the organizational support of the Fonds Psychische Gezondheid (Now known as 'Mind') the development and spread of The Wearable would not have been possible.
The Mondriaan Fund is the public fund for visual art and cultural heritage.
Without the initial financial support of the FondsBKVB (now known as Mondriaan Fonds) the creative transition phase to receiving the J&J Trust Funds would not have been bridged. Nor would we be able to participate in international exhibitions at FACT in Liverpool or The Big Anxiety Festival in Sydney.
The Creative Industries Fund supports exceptional and innovative projects and activities of designers, makers, and cultural institutions in the creative industries.
Without the financial support of the Creative Industries Fund we would not have been able to join THNK and help grow our business, our team, and our leadership skills.
THNK supports leaders to develop innovative solutions to the world’s greatest societal challenges.
Without the supporting grant of THNK we would not have been able to join THNK. THNK helped us to grow our business, our team, and our leadership skills.
A TOOL OF EMPATHY
WITH MIND BLOWING IMPACT
The way a question is asked limits and disposes the ways in which any answer to it — right or wrong — may be given ~ Suzanne Langer
EXPERIENCE AT OWN RISK
The question we usually get is: Is it dangerous? Might it stimulate psychosis, instead of simulating it? This question reveals misunderstandings and misconceptions that surround psychosis. Do you know that psychosis is viewed by many as the beginning of a 'waking dreaming' journey of healing? A creative survival strategy of the brain, that indeed, if not properly guided, can become a nightmare... Our experience is that Labyrinth Psychotica shifts perspective on what psychosis entails in an intense but gratifying experience.
THE LABYRINTH and THE WEARABLE are created to manipulate your emotions and senses. The experiences are art experiences 'at own risk'. They are a 'do-it-yourself' psychosis experiences, meaning you decide how far you let your imagination run in Jamie's Mind. The experiences are technologically immersive. Hence we provide the following warnings that come with any multi-media experience:
In rare cases, quick changes in lighting may trigger a migraine or epileptic episode. Certain noises may affect existing tinnitus. VR glasses may cause nausea, like carsickness or seasickness. This effect is known as cybersickness. Please contact us for more detailed insights into potential side effects. If you have any concerns, let's talk!