By Dina Anuar, Rachel Fong, Tiffany Rosete
As we are approaching our adulthood, our team has always been interested on how people are really judged in today’s society. We may hear other people’s voices and opinions in our head, but it is hard to distinguish those from our own.
The unconscious mind plays a very important role in affecting our behavior, shaping our personality and our entire life. It is like a big memory bank that stores our beliefs, memories and life experiences.
When one lacks self confidence because of certain beliefs that he has about himself (that are stored in his unconcious mind), then he might feel anxious around people. For example, the main reason we fear public speaking might be an unconscious belief that we are unattractive and that people will not like our appearance. While we are not aware of that belief while talking in front of the public still, it will affect our performance to a great extent.
Hence, our team has decided to utilize an object that could represent this unconscious mind as the audience literally sits and be inside this space to experience what the mind is probably thinking.
According to Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow, in all our perceptions, from vision to hearing, to the pictures we build of people’s character, our unconscious mind starts from whatever objective data is available to us and helps to shape and construct the more complete picture we consciously perceive.
By using silhouettes to project on the object mentioned earlier and to symbolize this ‘incomplete picture’, the body language and voices created by them act as the data in our mind as we tried to fill the empty blanks.
This gives us a startling and eye-opening examination of how the unconscious mind shapes our experience of the world and how, for instance, we often misperceive our relationships with family and friends.
Another aspect of our mind and our construct of ‘self’ relates to the idea of the social comparison theory. (Social Psychology, 2015) We may assess our worth by comparing ourselves to others. This may negatively affect our self-esteem. We also try to group ourselves with others (in-group or out-group). Such groups may be subject to discrimination by another group. Again, we may begin to doubt our self worth. In more severe cases, this may lead to depression.
One way to tackle the persisting issue of low self-esteem and insecurities is to be beside our feelings, acknowledging that these insecurities(wherever they may come from) exist. From there, we can free ourselves from identifying ourselves to stereotypes, stigmas and labels that lead to self-deprecating thoughts.
Therefore, our team decided to address this issue by raising an awareness where what we think the society perceives you is just inside our mind. Due to this unconscious mind we have, we are self-conscious about what we think of ourselves. The whole time you are inside your ‘mind’ is when you think all these are happening.
Mlodinow, Leonard. Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior. New York: Pantheon, 2012. Print.
Smith, Eliot R., Diane M. Mackie, and Heather M. Claypool. Social Psychology, 2015. Print.
‘Perceiving the Mind’ gives the audience a chance to explore the psychological state of one’s mind when a series of silhouette figures are being projected onto the exterior of a tent. Inspired by the work of Tracey Emin’s “The Tent 1995”, the interior of the tent acts as place of security while the audience is given an opportunity to experience the movements of different silhouettes from the interior of the tent. The audience is encouraged to take note of what is running through their mind when being inside and outside of the tent and how does it make them feel?
Overall, think that this was quite a fun experience to have despite having many challenges along the way from finalizing our concept, video and sound editing, looking for suitable props and space for installation and putting everything together.
The part that I find most memorable was making our own green screen and grabbing people to walk pass it! We had to take note of the actions and gestures of the people in front of the green screen, making sure that the gestures were big and clear enough when made into a silhouette form. When projecting the silhouette onto the tent, we had to take note of the distance between the projector and the tent. The lighting of the projection must be controlled so that it won’t strain the eye of the viewers in the tent.
In conclusion, it was a great experience and having my close friends alongside doing this together made it more memorable!