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Psychological States:
VASA film series by Karen Brett

Film Archive September - December 2015

* videos may be viewed at full screen.




Conversations with Myself

‘Conversations with Myself’ revolves around the psychological tension that someone with obsessive compulsive (OCD) creates in and around the physical space around them. At first glance, it seems like a ‘fly on the wall’ documentary, it is very telling in the way the piece unfolds.  However, the voice-over disrupts the realism of the work and pushes it into a more profound area of representation by portraying the subject in a more conscious and intriguing way.  The poignancy of the work is the fusion between the tension of the inner voice and the rhythm of the physical movements of the subject whilst moving around within their ‘own’ reality. A reality that does not exist for the majority of those outside it, looking in.

Film Funded by The Arts Council, England.

Eric’s Story:

The main dialogue within the film comes from Eric’s daughters, their stories carry us through a life of a man that saw the best in everyone, who bought up four children on his own and eventually fell in love again in his later years, but at a time when he was showing the first signs of dementia. The film also reflects on how the daughters dealt with the personality changes that took place over the period of ten years.  


Eurwen & Jim's Story:

The film shows the dynamics in a relationship that has dramatically changed following Eurwen’s brain aneurism. Jim has now become a carer due to Eurwen’s memory loss. The piece shows their well travelled life in the Air force, it reflects upon their journey together up until the present day where Jim explains how he deals with Eurwen’s diagnosis.




Lost for Words:

Miriam’s story reflects on how her present environment has affected her at a very transitional time. Following her second stroke her living conditions changed dramatically, from owning her own home on a small holding to being partly dependent in a rented house. The film captures Miriam’s frustrations with her memory loss but also her creative ability as a writer and a poet with future aspirations of buying her own house and having the inspiration to write again.

Moving On:

The ‘Moving on’ project was part of the final year of a two year residency based at Ysbyty Gwynedd, North Wales.  Whilst working on the photography workshops at the Hergest Adult Mental Health Unit during the first year of the residency, Brett noticed how quickly the group would change from week to week as in-patients left acute care and returned home, returning to their community.  Brett would often wonder how each patient managed with life after hospital care, how they felt about dealing with their illness within their own environment, their daily personal goals, and exploring the places where they would feel most comfortable and at ease with themselves.

Brett worked closely with two outpatients in their community to create two pieces of work that deals with life in a ‘bi-polar world’.  The following two films take the viewer on a journey through very personal and engaging internal and external landscapes, combining dialogue with imagery that allow the words space for contemplation.



‘Horses Warped on an Altering Canvas’ is a portrayal of a young woman engaging in her everyday ritual of ‘mirror checking’ - a common symptom associated with Body Dysmorphia. The psychology behind the work brings together the subject and the viewer: we watch from behind the mirror whilst the subject looks into it, not knowing we are there.

The mirror acts like a switch for the subject and ‘turns on’ an obsession of repetitive behavior that is magnified by the minds eye. Recurrent thoughts ferment whilst this familiar routine is carried out, causing excruciating distress for the sufferer that will hinder her everyday function due to being locked into this pattern of behavior.

The piece allows us to study the subject at close proximity from behind the mirror. She is completely absorbed with her own reflection, “a reflection”, we the viewer cannot see. The mirror only captures her own perception of reality: horse like shapes moving in and around her face.
Funded by the Arts Council, England.


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Eric's Story, Eurwen & Jim's Story, Lost for Words and Moving On films were produced during a two year residency at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor, North Wales, UK with the support of SAFLE, Arts Council Wales & Gwynedd Council’s Community Arts.

Conversations with Myself & Horses Warped on an Altering Canvas:

Funded by The Arts Council, England.

Film series funded by VASA.

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