become aware – exploring the realities of mental health

differentasusual.com

According to the WHO, nearly one billion people worldwide live with a mental disorder. One has a 50%-70% risk to develop a mental disorder in the course of one‘s life. These disorders usually begin in childhood or adolescence. Yet, due to a lack of prevention and early detection measures, treatment is often not started until many years later. Health psychology and clinical psychology – which deal with the promotion and maintenance of health as well as the prevention, explanation and treatment of illness – are based on a biopsychosocial model. In these three areas (biological – psychological – social), both risk and protective factors are found that interact in complex ways and determine the development, maintenance, severity and treatment options of a disorder.

Humans are multidimensional. Yet we cannot imagine the multidimensional space in which we vary. Therefore, we cannot grasp the extent to which we are all connected. To visualize the seemingly infinite variations and combinations of influences that bring forth our individuality, I trained a styleGAN2-model with 1000 images of biological, psychological and social factors from the lives of different people (e.g. living situations, social contacts, injuries, etc.). From this input, the model generates dynamic, interwoven visuals that seamlessly merge into one another, which beautifully displays the way in which we vary from each other. We are different, for example in our personalities, our circumstances, our perception or our feelings, but not fundamentally different. An individual trait can be understood as a point on a shared dimension. And the so-called latent space, the output of a styleGAN2-model, consists of 512 dimensions derived from the input images.

I use the generated visuals to design animated posters and flyers, teaser and an associated website and instagram-account to communicate key messages and information regarding mental health and illness. I do this both using the resulting graphics as such as well as to animate typography and thereby transferring the fluent motion directly onto the related statements. These statements are written in the typeface 'Neutral' by Kai Bernau, which is constructed to be free of stylistic associations. In that way, I implement it as the representation of an unbiased awareness which allows all thoughts and emotions. This perception, without judgment or distortion, is the basic aspect of Emotional Intelligence, which is linked to better mental health.

I use AI to visualize and express something which can‘t be extensively described with words. I create an abstract visualization of mental and emotional states and the dimensional nature of individual differences as well as psychological well-being. My work aims to clarify that mental health should be understood as a state of equilibrium that must be continuously maintained. A completely and permanently positive state would be an unrealistic goal. It is much more about gaining insights about oneself in order to better deal with negative thoughts and emotions. And in this process, all feelings and thoughts are perfectly fine. I display scientific information in a visually novel way to gain attention and inspire the observer to interact with the material, for example by scanning a poster with their phone to see it in motion. I thereby reduce initial inhibitions and facilitate awareness and communication.

animated poster

we vary on the same dimensions

animated poster

we vary on the same dimensions

website

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website

explore page