It turns out that more and more (young) people suffer from stress-related health problems. Tips and advice all seem to focus on self-development. This put me thinking; self-development belongs to the top layer of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Development aid or assistance is provided in all remaining layers. As the definition of development aid according to Van Dale dictionary says ‘aid to underdeveloped countries’. But the purpose of development aid is to ‘increase the living standards of people’. This was the reason for me to start the ‘development aid organisation for developed people’. A super strong concept of which I unfortunately did not get the branding visually as great as the idea. So what happened; I did not pass my exam.
Who am I to tell people the danger they are in, to tell that the world they live in is sickening? Who am I to give tips for a better life… and then become overwrought myself. Going to far. Feeling like a zombie, with brains drifting through the skull like scrambled eggs. Confused, disordered, making mistakes, hurting thyself, but still going on and on. Not so long anymore now… almost there.
In the five months that I worked on the performance pressure project, I became more and more raided by mental breakdowns. Researching and sketching is something I like and get energy from. Yet, the hundreds of tips, causes and signals I read during the investigation didn’t prevent me from undergoing stress-related health problems myself. At the end of the course I was so overwrought that I couldn’t answer simple questions, function normally or think straight anymore. I completely collapsed. How clear it became that some simple tips and tricks are not enough. The world we live in and the demands we make to ourselves do not allow us. I set the bar too high, making disappointment unavoidable. A serious approach, such as professional help and / or drastic changes in our daily lives could possibly provide a solution. But situations do not change from one day to another. And how many people have the money for paying years of long-term therapy?I present you the (subjective) actual representation of the result of performance pressure.
This is what my performance pressure did…
to me in only five months
In the end I couldn’t answer simple questions, think straight and function normally anymore. I completely collapsed. I am not strong enough to get better by ‘tips & tricks’ alone. This is not only my problem, but the problem of over one million Dutch citizens. We grow up with norms and values that causes stress-related health issues. Our society is soaked with the pressure to be successful, to perform the best we can. In everything, everywhere at any time.
During the exam period I had the urge of making pictures of myself during these mental breakdowns. More like a diary, not to look back at ever again. But when I failed my exam I realised this was exactly where my project was about; not talking about it, just act like you're okay.
I choose two pictures, one just before a breakdown and one in the middle of it. Through processing and a kinect I projected the first portrait and when you just pass by, the picture changes to the very emotional one.
Because when you know me, you will see. But if you just walk by, you will never know what's going on inside. And maybe we have to stop more frequently and really listen to each other, share our thoughts and feelings. Be stronger together.
S/ASH GA\\ERY exhibition
For this was my final exam resit I couldn't attend the general graduation show. Thus a friend and I organised our own substitute graduation show Final_Def_2 for all resit candidates of our year at Worm's S/ASH GA\\ERY, Rotterdam.