Latest Art Project: Super Duper SAD Fixer 5000
Super Duper SAD Fixer 5000
Medium: 26″ x 13.5″ plexi LED filled box with vinyl graphics applied (wall mounted)
With the evolution of modern medicine has come the ability and, may I say, obsession with finding a diagnosis for just about every uncomfortable feeling / stress / mood / uncontrolled aspect in life. Some of these driven by medical practitioners and others self assessed and prescribed. One such diagnosis is Seasonal Affective Disorder or “SAD”. Equally as fascinating as a disorder brought on by the changes in the seasons typically manifesting itself in depressive mood swings, is the antidote… a desktop LED light.
On considering these lights as the prescription for depression I was struck by many observations… first and foremost the ridiculousness of everything surrounding the disorder that seeks to provide it framework; from the fact an entire medical system made up of thousands of smart, highly educated professionals could create and validate a name for the disorder that purposefully represents the acronym SAD. That the antidote is a desktop light and how a google search will reveal a host of light suppliers that appear more as “as seen on tv” healers than a serious prescription for a disorder affecting people en mass. What’s also funny is many people place the light right beside their computers as if a glowing computer screen is somehow different than the healing light.
Almost without exception, everyone I know who has and uses one of these devices is someone I would consider “creative” in ability and occupation; considering the target audience, it is especially curious these devices are non-descript, ugly, and lacking any aesthetic value IMO – this fact provided the inspiration for the project.
The Super Duper SAD Fixer 5000 works are a collection of seasonal disorder antidotes. They represent a design exercise to bring aesthetic beauty and credibility to a purposeful device all with a hint of satire. The device is customized to bring people to their places of refuge. The LED filled boxes emit healing properties of electric light energy while also symbolizing beacons of hope for a brighter day to follow (they do nothing it is just a box filled with LED’s). The act of showcasing the piece on a wall itself provides healing properties… breaking down the secrecy and shame often accompanying depression this act puts it on display offering the feelings / disorder / stress up as a statement of artistic beauty to be considered and appreciated. The name itself a rebellious response to the disorders name and pokes fun at the marketing machine that now surrounds the diagnosis.
The collection asks several questions about our culture. Why do we feel the need to diagnose everything? Why is it that we are not ok with changing seasons and adverse feelings / moods that may be associated? Why must we “fix” this feeling / mood? Why must all seasons be equal – both physically and metaphorically? Why must we name everything? How many of our antidotes are sold products or services? What does it mean to be SAD? These are just a few examples.
*please note, my intention is not to undermine the notion of a seasonal mood altering disorder, nor to offend those who carry this diagnosis, it is more to poke fun at the marketing / design that surrounds it and use the works to ask questions about human struggle.