A mental health installation by Mig Burgess will be at the PLASA Show from September 15-17 at Olympia London.
After an acclaimed initial run at Guildford School of Acting (University of Surrey) earlier this year, this fusion of cutting-edge technology, art, theatre, and education will stop by PLASA as it gears up for a nationwide rollout.
Blackout is a multisensory experience that aims to give visitors a rare insight into the mind of someone with Bipolar II disorder. Utilising an innovative combination of light, sound, video, and vibration, the installation creates a sensory journey into a Bipolar II patient’s head as they transition through a hyper manic and manic low episode. The experience has been created for a single viewer and lasts six minutes.
Mig, a lighting tutor at GSA and an experienced Production LX, has suffered from Bipolar II for most of her life. Her driver for creating Blackout was the need to bring this taboo subject out into the open, provoke discussion and offer solidarity to those who suffer. She also wanted to try and interpret her condition using the language of her profession.
“I’m a creative – it is far easier to express my feelings through art than through words. I see Blackout as much more than just a design installation. I want to provoke more discussion around the topic of mental health in this industry, and beyond. I want to encourage people to be honest about their mental health, to talk about it and be open. It’s only through discussion and openness that we can educate others to understand more, and be more understanding.”
The creative team behind Blackout is a collective of recognised professionals, including theatre director Simon Anderson, award-winning video designer Finn Ross, Paul Burgess of Sadler’s Wells and sound engineer Zoe Milton. Anderson commented: “Blackout is a totally unique way of engaging peoples’ emotions and affecting them in a non-conventional way. It was an incredible directorial challenge.”
The installation was experienced by 250 industry professionals, young people, and mental health experts at its launch at the University of Surrey and has received significant support from the industry. As Mig said: “It’s been lovely to see the industry pull together non-competitively to support this project to promote mental health awareness.”
The run at the PLASA Show is intended to be industry-specific. “Our industry has been slow in acknowledging the effects of mental health and there has never been any significant research for this industry in this country about how it affects people who work in it.”
To address this Dr. Paul Hanna – senior lecturer and research director in Clinical Psychology at the University of Surrey – will also be conducting industry-specific research alongside Blackout at the PLASA Show. The aim of this evaluation is to explore attitudes to mental health so we can begin to help people that suffer in the technical entertainment industry. This research has been commissioned by prominent industry associations: PLASA, PSA, ALD, ASD, and ABTT.
Blackout is appearing at the PLASA Show from September 15-17 at Olympia London.
When you book to see Blackout at the PLASA Show, you are agreeing to participate in an industry-specific evaluation to research mental health within the entertainment technology working environment. The aim of the evaluation is to improve working practices within the entertainment technology sector.