An Artist’s Guide
Abstract: In mathematics, a variable that has been derived from another variable, because it has no value of its own… is what is called a ‘derivative’. The ‘underlying’ is the term which mathematicians use to explain that a derivative derives its value from the assets of another value. In terms of its function, the derivative is the rate of change of the output value with respect to its input value. A ‘differential’ is a result of the actual change of the function.
This Analogy: is being used to describe the function of an artist living with mental illness, particularly ‘psychosis’, who works in the virtual world of the Internet. Without the diagnosis of psychoses, the artist’s value is void and null (Of little interest or value). Incorporating the dynamics of episodic psychosis and the way it is impacted by the online virtual world of social media platforms and other online accessibility, has taken elements of the real world into a representation of a real life, online. The derivative (artist) functions based on the input (external system user/AI) at which the rate of change of output data increases, as does a slope of a graph. The slope equates to increased creative output and the degree at which the onset of psychosis increases.
It sounds convoluted, because it is. (As most of my past expressions of these stories have been.)The Truth: is there are always governing parties involved. Online and Offline, there is a way to explain the concept of String Theory, in which every atom/particle/event is connected to every other atom/particle/event within the Universe. The heightened sense of psychosis reveals in many ways how things in this existence truly are connected, from the continuity of everything we think/see/hear within nanoseconds of each other. Every cause and reaction occurs in a hyper sequence that makes complete sense to the mentally ill individual. If one wants to think of a God, then be it. If one wants to believe in chain reaction, so be it. There are a number of clichés that a person could use. Let it be said though that these thought patterns can be very dangerous. Life is not a mapped out sequence of events in totality – everything said, everything heard, everything seen, every experience had, every memory connected to every other life event with intention of meaning. THAT is CRAZY. Such patterns seem to exist in the minds of people who are “crazy”, kind of like me, when I am going through episodic psychosis. Currently, actually for the past while I have always been sitting on the cusp of my diagnosis. Always going between the sane and the insane until it becomes “normal life”. I do not have to live this way. I have a choice. I value medication (something I had to learn) and I accept I need more. I need a higher dosage of my anti-psychotic/anti-depressant medication. I am fully aware of this now. I needed to hear it to believe it. I needed to stop hearing every external sound as a trigger of thought and validation. I am still vulnerable, right now, but I am aware my mental health has improved over the time I needed to readjust after “a slope”. I needed to trust again. I needed to trust my environment again. And, I needed to trust my mind again. I also needed to trust people again.
Beginning: In 2013, I dreamt about South Africa. I obviously was not mentally stable, but through it all, I still made waves. I made waves in the virtual world of the Internet. It surprisingly reached artists/musicians and others abroad. All because of an exchange of data, not one on one, but one against an unquantifiable mass, all because of a little SoundCloud playlist I put together for myself, and one day chose to share. Dialogue online ensued through various spaces and they played out as though my mental illness was not something dire or real. Or perhaps they knew it was? Various accounts were hacked, various musicians (ie. CG and SW) that I admired, and complete strangers took part, and various occurrences happened in real life that tied into the whole dialogue of my mind. At the end of it all, I took my belongings to the park across from my apartment at the time and started burning away my possessions, as if burning away false sweet memories that were in actuality sweet. Immersed in my mind by the flames and my own thoughts, I did not see the parade of emergency vehicles quietly roll up beside me. I was calm, they were calm. The police officers and I had a pleasant conversation , as the firefighters were dousing my bags of belongings, other officers crossed the street to enter my apartment which I could not enter, and then I was quietly and unhesitatingly taken into the ambulance and brought to the emergency room of my mental health alma mater, The Douglas Mental Health Institute. (As my partner, who I was to meet during that incident , calls it, The Kingdom)I Share This Story: because this was the beginning to it all. The beginning to my fascination with The Digital Age and Mental Illness. The basis to the question, can someone recover from mental illness through virtual world expressions of reality? I used myself as the subject. I used my expressions of art as the subject. I used my social media time as the subject. And boy, are there stories. No one would believe them unless they were there, as a participant, as an end user, as a hacker, as an artist, as someone lost and confused, or as other governing parties. I was raised to think of the government as something corrupt but the older I get the more I see what it means to be patriotic to your own Country and home. To stop engaging in the rhetoric that every institution or every governing party is filled with corruption to conspire. To be at peace means to be at peace in your mind and to feel safe where you live. I am very fortunate in my life to have always had these things… albeit lost on the way, but always finding my peace again in time.
My Origin: began in Montreal, Quebec, and I found my way back to a home that has embraced me and encouraged me in reaches of the most abstract/surreal way, in a quite unbelievable way that would have people call me crazy or delusional. Living with my partner and living with our mental illnesses, I am nothing short of thankful. We both planted our roots in Montreal, Canada. My partner in 1995, and myself in 1997-2002 and then again in 2007, until together in 2013. And time, everything in life takes time. Time exists in my mind like everything happened just a day or a minute ago. My memories exist in one space as a single moment, that allows me to travel back and forth, as I live out each day trying to make more memorable moments – online/offline.
The Variable: has always been mental illness deriving from a state of mental health. Mental health does not mean the same thing to someone living with a mental illness. ‘Mental Health‘ is necessary for everyone and it should be meant for everyone. ‘Mental Illness‘ is something an affected individual (and those that love them) have to live with each day of their natural lives, always convincing themselves (or at least I would hope), that they are not alone.
[We remember those lost to the illness, and remember to always continue on…]