noise (Installation View)
The Big Anxiety, RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, VIC, 2022
Photo by Tobias Titz
noise was an audio-visual installation generated from an archive of detailed interviews with people suffering from severe post-natal depression or major depressive disorder (including myself). I created the sonic component of noise from quotes from these interviews, as a means of giving voice and witness to the experience of these most generous people. Depression, being a condition of mental health, hides, insidiously, within our thoughts, within our self, and so we often cannot distinguish what is us and what is the condition. It means for each of us depression wears a different mask. However, the experience of depression does have many identifiably common elements: feelings of worthlessness; excessive guilt; anhedonia – or the loss of pleasure in all elements of life; as well as the sapping drain on one’s physical and mental resources. Yet for me, accurate, resonant representations of the experience of depression in culture remain elusive. noise is my attempt to evoke the intrusive nature of depressive thought scripts and the way they can make you feel like you are dragging your mind and body through some kind of noxious molasses.
I created fake broken screens and combined them with an actual broken screen for the install. I love the aesthetic of broken LEDs but they are a little unstable and I needed a degree of control amongst the chaos. The sound, whilst utilising distortion effects for the document soundtrack, in the installation was played through old amplifiers and torn ancient speakers which gave the audio the bulk of its distortion – great thanks to Michael Graeve for loaning me his babies.
The archive of interviews that feature in this project were generously supplied by Professor Renata Kokanovic, who was a chief investigator on the project that generated them. Some elements were published at https://www.healthtalkaustralia.org/depression-recovery/