- How does your audience experience your project?
Rui Hong: The participant takes on the persona of a war veteran. S/he will be tasked to watch to a ‘pre-mission’ brief video by an ‘officer’ and put on the Integrated Load Bearing Vest (iLBV). At the end of the mission brief, there will be an important grenade safety drill taught as well. Afterwards, s/he will be instructed to walk around and ‘guard’ a perimeter, in which actors are planted and would touch the shoulder pads on the iLBV. This would set off the photocell sensor, which will be coded to produce a sound ‘Grenade!’ and thereafter send vibrations to the chest area of the participant along with an explosion sfx. S/he would then squat down to protect him/herself while waiting for the ‘grenade’ to explode. All these will be a live simulation of what is going through in the head of someone who has PTSD. Every day scenarios, such as train rides, bus rides, and long queues would be displayed on the projector in the room. The participant is on their own, and which not be given instructions thereafter. Being left confused, the participant would experience getting judgemental stares and remarks by actors who would act as civilians. The interaction ends in 3mins or at the participant’s discretion.
Daryl: Centered around an army utilities vest, also known as an Integrated Load Bearing Vest (iLBV), the participant will engage with the exhibit through that vest which has been installed with photocells, a vibration motor & a tablet all linked to an Arduino Nano board.
The entire project will be held in a room with a projector. The participant will first watch a video that simulates an officer giving a brief for the mission which the participant will go on after the video ends. There will also be a Grenade Safety Drill taught towards the end of the brief. The crew will then help the participant put on the vest and earphones connected to the tablet. While the participant is on the mission, different everyday life scenarios are projected on the screen. Spectating participants will be allowed to enter and leave the room anytime while the participant is on the mission. Actors planted around the room will start to trigger the photocells on the shoulder pads which starts a “Grenade” warning, which can only be heard by the participant in the vest through the earphones. The participant is expected to follow the grenade safety drill taught. The warning is followed by an explosion sfx and a vibration from the motor attached to the vest. Actors in the room will give weird stares at the participant, and maybe give snarky remarks. The grenade drills will continue for 3mins or until the participants chooses to end the interaction.
- Is it for a single person to engage with your project or for multiple participants concurrently?
Rui Hong: It is intended to be demonstrated by one participant but experienced by spectators alike. One participant takes on the persona of the war veteran, while the others are bystanders.
Daryl: Participants can choose to be a civilian or a war veteran, but at each time, there can only be one veteran.
- What is the interaction or situation you are creating for your audience?
Rui Hong: We are trying to create an uneasy situation for the spectators/bystanders as they experience the discomfort and anxiety of the participant through a third person perspective. The actors would act as the general public, sneering and judging the ‘veteran’ who is the participant. This gives other bystanders a better understanding of what someone who has PTSD may be experiencing daily.
Daryl: We are trying to simulate a War PTSD experience where the unexpectedness of the grenade warnings and explosions coupled together with the vibration around the heart area may cause an uneasy/uncomfortable experience for the participants. While the participant reacts to the warnings and loud explosions which only he/she can hear, we expect spectating participants to react to it, giving weird or funny expressions to the participant in the vest.
- What is the intention of this interaction?
Rui Hong: We are raising the awareness of PTSD developed through traumatic situations and help the audience understand how one might choose to socially outcast him/herself. The participant would be going through a crash course in the form of a simulated experience and learn to understand how one might develop the mental illness. S/he would be put in a situation unfamiliar to them, constantly feeling confused and anxious. The feeling of abandonment may be overwhelming for someone who is experiencing PTSD, something so involuntary.
Daryl: Focusing on the issues on mental health of war veterans and how society has chosen, whether consciously or not, to abandon them, we want our dark object to create a sense of embarrassment, loneliness, anxiety and fatigue. Through the interaction, we want the participants to understand how being outcast-ed feels like.