In art psychotherapy we explore the internal world of our feelings, thoughts, memories, physical sensations, movement, well-being and so on. The relationship between the inner and outer worlds is continually evaluated and reflected upon – how our inner and outer worlds meet each other and interact.
The internet introduces a new other, third world. A virtual reality to surf, immerse oneself in and lose all sense of time. A wonderful limitless world of useful and interesting resources as well as dead-end, energy-sapping, spiritually-depleting, money-draining temptations and addiction-enablers. Beautiful relationships are forged and friendships reunited. Sleazy encounters and inauthentic ‘friends’ are also available 24/7. No-one really monitors how you use the internet (unless in China etc.) so each person, acting on their own agency, has quite an individualised and private relationship with the web.
In the Art for the Heart workshop this week I invited participants to make a piece of art about their thoughts or relationship with the internet. This elicited strong feelings of both hope and despair.
One image looks like a crime scene, with an alternative narrative suggesting a family jostling for position at the computer and each pinned down to the collective circuitry of the ‘mother board’. A dystopic scene indeed. Another piece looks like a spider trawling for information with a fuzzy central part – a bit like staring at the screen for too long. One person explored the idea of addictions and control. Someone else shows the flow of information as well as ‘rubbish’ permeating in, out and through the computer via the black screen. Another person explored the connect-disconnect process with some exploration about the screen saver that may be an opaque window or an invitation into some 3-dimensional landscape.
Art for the Heart Workshops (est. 1998) resume on 12th January 2015. They are run as a slow-open group with different themes explored weekly. You are welcome to come for a try-out session and then sign up for more.