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Labyrinth Psychotica 

Labyrinth Psychotica is an artistic research project that aims to simulate the experience of psychosis. It uses multisensory [tactile and sonic] elements in combination with the maze environment, to create a fully immersive experience. The maze mechanism also serves as a metaphor for attempting to get inside the mind of another. The investigation aimed to not only portray an experience of psychosis but one that was ‘artistic’. It further asks if such an endeavour could prove ‘useful’. Though I can only speak from my experience of the work [1], it did seem effective in conveying elements of this experience, such as; loss of personal boundaries, and blurred borders between the body and space.

Another element which resonates with Action Lab is the use of case study labyrinths, developed through public workshops, which informed the creation of the final work. The work exists as an installation in its own right but is further mobilised through specialist workshops and a wearable version using augmented reality, fusing the real and hallucinatory.

This is a powerful example of how artistic research and co-creation can be used together to create a richness of experience. The work is effective in providing a platform to explore this, to such an extent it is being used as a training tool for families and social workers. LP fits the model of pragmatic somaesthetics; providing a platform in which experiences unfold, enhancing self-awareness. LP provides a pivotal point of reference for Action Lab and its potential as a toolkit.

[1] Inside the labyrinth, one becomes aware of the possible presence of others, separated from them yet uncomfortably close, a strange sense of spatial self-consciousness. A sensory overload of textural sensations from the materials that enshroud the body at it squeezes between layers. Sound plays a further roll in disorientation. Pre-recorded voices and sounds intermingle with the sounds of other participants. A deep sense of uncertainty grows. Time feels extended through this folding of space. A feeling of entrapment grows. Claustrophobia sets in. Followed by an urgency to escape.

Project website:
http://www.labyrinthpsychotica.org/Labyrinth_Psychotica/Home.html

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