Sunday, May 4, 2014

[re]Imagining the “Sick” Space through Art

By Brittany Ricker

Time is running out.
Most are freaking out… some pretend like they aren’t freaking out... BUT either way 5 days remain before out last arranged pin-up of our thesis designs (The final is due in the middle of July and some will hate me for even reminding them).  Also, not to mention this weekend is Easter but that usually doesn’t mean much when you’re in Architecture (at least from personal experience). It usually means eating whatever’s in your fridge, some have a relative or friend to come visit just to feel like they aren’t alone for the holiday (that usually is stressful too), some are lucky and can drive home for a home cooked meal if they live close, BUT most tend to continue working on their project hoping to crank something out. It is always hard to tell your loved ones that you won’t be able to make family events, especially when you live 5+ hours away.

So on top of planning out your final defense for thesis… there is more stress being piled on if you are disappointing some people or even if your family completely understands.. it still sucks sometimes to know you can’t spend more time with them. Even if you do go home and you finish everything before you leave… imagine what else you could produce and make it that much better if you had the entire weekend to keep adding to it. Call me crazy but I get so wrapped up in design that I always work until the last minute because I always have something to add… design is NEVER complete, there is ALWAYS more you can add, change, detail.. ALWAYS. I don’t care who you are, or how long you have been an Architect or designer.. In my eyes a design has a million different routes it can take so there are endless possibilities.

Now you’re probably even wondering why the heck my title was “[re]Imagining the “Sick” Space through Art” … well in previous blog posts I had discussed my proposal for my thesis… I am designing a psychiatric treatment center that will incorporate all five+ senses. There are sensorial spaces, therapeutic workshops, art therapy… endless possibilities that could improve psychiatric treatment centers and how they go about treating/healing adolescences. Since I have personal experience with struggling with depression, admitting myself into an in-patient hospital my senior year of high school, attending an outpatient program then regular therapy following that.. I still could not understand why I wasn’t getting better. Yes I had the coping skills they discuss over and over again… but I just felt as if I was a zombie… or a robot… telling the doctors exactly what they want to hear so that I can finally get out of all of this.. return back to the dreadful days of high school and get on with  my life because nothing was helping. After graduating a half semester early (no idea how that even happened…) I was still seeing a therapist occasionally. I started college and while I struggled the first semester in interior design.. trying to figure out if I even liked what I was getting myself into… I decided to switch to architecture. Now this may be a coincidence but, for those of you who know me, my designs are always art based… in some way shape or form… art is constantly incorporated and usually quite abstract. Since I began architecture, I missed meetings with my therapist.. usually because there was a project due or I was working on stuff for the project… I stopped going all together. Not to say what therapists do isn’t important because it definitely is, but for me and my family/friends… a drastic change happened when I was lost in the world of architecture (sounds kind of cliché or cheesy …but literally that’s how it feels). Since I even began studying architecture I notice that if I start getting anxious, extremely stressed out, panicky…. I can’t work on anything… and to clear my head I start building models, I begin painting or sculpting… anything and somehow it usually ends up forming my design for a project. This time around I was able to use my concept and create artwork that is technically a form of art therapy that will be used in my psychiatric treatment center. Luckily I have an awesome friend in studio that was willing to pose for these pictures… and some might find them quite disturbing…creepy… uncomfortable…but when I look at them I don’t exactly see that.. I see someone hiding.. and if someone pays close attention maybe they would notice the pain.. but usually it’s ignored. Giving people a chance… gives them hope…  It’s extremely hard to explain… not enough words could describe what I was thinking while doing this… but here’s some examples of what I have been working on. (I began working on this while I was stressed out about personal stuff, finishing design, and trying to figure out ways I could spend time with my family for Easter… this seriously calmed me down without even realizing it at first)

A special thanks to Lauren Hale for taking time out of working on her own thesis to contribute to mine! You’re awesome!!! 
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Subject: Lauren Hale
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A combination of finished and in progress images transferred on to canvas
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