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’. 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.
This resulted in Labyrinth Psychotica and its two prostheses for imagination: THE WEARABLE and THE LABYRINTH. She later found particular patterns which she translated into design principles and a full on theory en model to hold space for the subjective experiences of psychosis THE ANOIKSIS EXPERIMENT.
A summary of her research journey (the dissertation) can be found here.
UNDERSTANDING PSYCHOSIS IS HARD
WE DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT WE DON'T KNOW
Recent research suggests that 1 in 13 people may have a psychotic experience before the age of 75. 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'. Labels give a name to the experience but tell us nothing about the experience.
SOFT SKILL DEVELOPMENT
A lack of understanding is a lack of effective action, affecting early detection and the time window for voluntary prevention. Nor does it provide insights as to why it arises in the first place. 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 of empathy 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.
The project Labyrinth Psychotica by Roomforthoughts is dedicated to researching, developing, building, and helping people learn about psychosis in the most direct way: through the senses. Labyrinth Psychotica forms a bridge between theoretical knowledge and practical experience of psychosis. We not only inform and educate about psychosis we also stimulate individual imagination by our unique 'DO-IT-YOURSELF' workshop design.
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR FINANCIAL AND ORGANISATIONAL SUPPORTERS & COLLABORATORS
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.
STICHTING DOEN has the ambition to accelerate a transition to a more sustainable, social, and creative world.
Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone ~ Gertrude Stein
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.
Be kind. Keep learning. Be mindful. Be forgiving. Respect boundaries. Keep trying