For my final piece investigating “what makes us human” I have created a mixed media installation combining costume design, set design and photography as a means to visually express my character; a criminally insane psychiatrist, loosely based off Walter J Freeman II, a widely celebrated 20th century physician and founder of the infamous ice pick lobotomy. I’m This was an era in which mental health was seen to have been a crime. The rehabilitation process paralleled experimental testing on lab rats.
My project encapsulates this eerie moment in medical history. It takes elements from my own personal experience inside of a psychiatric ward, which has lead me to question the treatment of mental health patients, both in the present and the past. The installation that I plan to curate aims to mimic the sensation of one entering a museum, filled with tangible relics of the past, which hold, in this scenario, a sinister and shocking significance. Each item of this ‘museum’ will hold a different storyline that centres around this character, whom I have named Dr. Thalamus the II. For instance, the straightjacket that I have made bares similarities to its real life predecessors as I have referenced the same materials and industrial dyeing techniques. Furthermore the photography element is purely in polaroid format, resonating with the technological capabilities of that era.