Self Control works to critically examine the ways in which we employ unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with compounding vectors of mental illness. In the work, the player takes on the role of a small frog with various responsibilities and a collection of video games inspired by the Gameboy Color era. The frog suffers from depression and anxiety and uses these games to distract from rapidly mounting stress in their life, seeking out games to deal with their emotional stressors. This expresses how unhealthy coping mechanisms lead us to ignore root causes of the issues we face, rather than finding meaningful ways to address them. However, during our absences, stressors only compound and become more overwhelming. This can prompt one to seek further distraction, leading to a vicious cycle of escapism wherein the means by which one copes with mental illness in turn worsens the symptoms of mental illness. Self Control, then, operates as an educational tool as opposed to something designed to be played purely for fun. It is a means to teach players about how depression and anxiety can impact someone’s quality of life, and hopefully, as a result, create a more empathic response to that suffering.
On view at Work Commons
This work is featured as part of Exchanges: How We Got Here, The 2018 Stamps Senior Show, unfolding during the month of April in four exhibition sites throughout the city of Ann Arbor: the Michigan Theater, Duderstadt Video Studio, Work Commons in the Art & Architecture Building, and Stamps Gallery. Each space will host key exhibition events including film/video screenings, live performance, and opening receptions. Check the exhibition page for dates, times and hours.