Alice Partington

Anxiety Adventure

Anxiety Adventure Poster

Anxiety disorders affect an increasing amount of the population. Those that live with it can be suffering quietly without seeking or getting support. Anxiety can affect all aspects of a person’s life and while being one of the most common mental illnesses, there are still many misconceptions and shame around discussing anxiety.

‘Anxiety Adventure’ is a collection of works highlighting aspects of anxiety. It draws from personal experience while also inviting others to share their own understanding of the mental illness. Works in the ‘Anxiety Adventure’ collection feature commonplace objects that have been manipulated to take on a redefined meaning. The familiar objects become vessels to convey messages of anxiety; written statements and objects combine to take on new significances. Mental illnesses are accepted to be as common and widespread as the objects (mattresses, lawn grass, jam jars). By using these everyday items, the viewer is given the opportunity to transition their expectations from familiarity to discovery. The Anxiety Adventure installation subverts expectations, it questions misconceptions and assumptions around Anxiety disorders and shows, in the case of mental illness, things may not always be as they appear.

Matresses
Discarded mattresses; left on street corners, left in skips, left on the front garden, left out for all to see. A mattress is such a personal possession; It moulds to the very shape of our bodies, we spend a third of our time sleeping on it, it’s there for the highs and there at our lowest. And yet we discard them so readily and abandon them for all to see. Left in public view, like megaliths to our most intimate moments, they carry a unique weight as canvases to share messages of the anxious mind.

The drawn series of mattresses feature statements that reference the repetitive overthinking of anxiety. From these initial drawings the ‘Anxiety Adventure’ mattress has been translated to sculpture and light installation. The mattress has been reduced to its springs and covered with a semi-translucent latex so that when a light is shone within, the inner words are revealed. Deconstructing a childhood mattress to then cover in aged skin-like pink latex creates an uncomfortable scene. The latex renders the mattress unusable but instead is exposing what thoughts are hidden within on a fleshy backdrop. Obscuring the inner words is symbolic of invisible nature of illnesses like anxiety.

Jars
Bottled feelings. Anxious thoughts, perceptions and realities written on and in varying sizes of glass jars. This part of the collection aims to be an interactive and growing installation. In an exhibition setting visitors are welcomed to submit written expressions of their experiences with anxiety. Over the course of days and weeks each submission will be translated to one jar. This every growing piece will start with personal perseptions and grow to encompass the varying, or even similar views on anxiety. This is an evolving installation which aims to give a visual representation of the many diverse experiences of anxiety. It sheds light on an often closeted and misunderstood mental illness. In the hopes of giving each person who comes across this installation a better understanding of anxiety.

Lawn Grass
‘Hurt doesn’t begin to cover it’ is a plan for an Installation piece of lawn grass with the words 'Hurt Doesn’t Begin To Cover It' burnt into the grass, and with the appearance of it still smouldering. The suggestion of arson is further evident by the empty lighter fluid bottle and matches discarded in the overgrown grass. From afar the installation will be seen as a raised bed with smoking grass, the smoke giving the viewer the impression of seeing the message just after it has been created. The medium of lawn grass is something we are familiar with, the use of it can incite feelings of ownership, property and of emotional attachment. The initial perceptions of this piece could be to assume a jilted lover has set fire to a lawn with a message of hurt in an act of vengeance. This assumption that is applied to the grass lawn is then shifted to see the grass as merely an embodiment of the natural world. The viewer can see that this first assumption is correct, in that the jilted lover is in fact mother nature, which is conveying a massage not of revenge but a plea for its saviour. This installation draws from a form of anxiety only recognised in recent years: Eco Anxiety.

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