Participant: Who am I? What if I am not really a person?
Therapist: That’s an understandable concern
-MAPS protocol on MDMA-assisted psychotherapy
It’s astounding the first time you realize that a stranger has a body… It means that you have a body, too
You must not be your mother’s body
-personal notebook, 2009
Referencing Nicholas Saunder’s 1993 publication E for Ecstasy, that explores his experiences of MDMA as both a therapy and party drug, Black’s work was inspired by the use of MDMA as treatment for those with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The history of the concept of trauma is heavily tied to the military, from Freud’s early interest in shell shock cases in the First World War to modern armies’ interest in reducing the incidence of trauma among soldiers. At the same time, the concept has been used to explain and treat the psychological harm caused by other disorienting and painful events such as sexual assault and car accidents.
Recently, psychiatric categories such as post-traumatic stress disorder have gained traction in alt and online communities, becoming part of the circulation of identity categories and descriptors with which people try to navigate the world.
The video is made up of material based on two trauma treatments, virtual reality reenactment and MDMA. It combines found and original footage, sourced from news items, image banks and an afternoon spent on MDMA. Black seeks to address how the concept of trauma has become a kind of universal solvent in which perpetrator and victim, counter-culture and hegemonic violence are dissolved.
The work takes the form of an online video. The commission will take over UP Projects’ homepage as part of their This is Public Space web commissions series.
'Capacity' looks at how the concept of trauma has become a kind of universal solvent in which perpetrator and victim, counter-culture and hegemonic violence are dissolved. And what better place to explore such global ideas than the universal platform of the internet.
You have been travelling for four sunrises. Your flask is nearly empty and there are just scraps of dried fruit left in your pack. Your feet drag over ruptured chunks of tarmac and uneven paving slabs, through which tough and resourceful plants push their heads. Deserted grey buildings are your companions, their broken glass eyes lifeless under the midday sun. Your head hangs low with tiredness and heat.
You stop. Through a buckled gate you see the unusual sight of a flickering electric sign hanging from a post in the middle of a long stone courtyard. You clamber through the twisted metal turnstile to investigate. The sign points to an open doorway, through which you see a host of electric lights blinking in a pale rainbow of colour. You enter. The room is bare apart from the lights and a descending spiral staircase. Two doors lead off to the left and right of the room but they are locked shut. Through the small glass windows in their surface you can see only darkness beyond. The room is cool, a welcome respite from the searing weather outside. You decide to follow the stairs downwards. Wide stone steps cause your footsteps to echo upward. You hold the cool metal banister, its black turned surface guiding your descent. Debris litters the less trodden parts of the steps, scraps of fabric and browned paper nesting amongst piles of dust that have gathered in corners where the stone meets the flaking painted walls. You soon find yourself on a narrow landing. Doors to your left and right have been sealed up with scraps of wooden board. In front of you is a large metal door, onto which are scratched the letters ‘H R’. You gently push the door. It swings violently inward at your touch, causing you stumble through. The door closes again before you are able to regain your balance. You spin round and try it but it will not open. There is no visible lock or handle and the door is far too thick and sturdy to break open. You sigh with resignation. It is time to explore your new surroundings.
You are stood in a dimly lit reception area. The walls are black and covered in chalk glyphs. There is a set of double doors ahead of you. To your left is a market stall, bedecked with hundreds of hand-painted wooden necklaces. Each necklace features a symbol consisting of two circles, one on top of the other. The upper circle features a skull-like robotic face, the lower a pair of staring eyes. On top of the stall sits a small, brightly-coloured robot, surrounded by a cluster of electric candles. You step forward to look more closely at the robot.
“Welcome to Happy Redoubt, friend!” The robot turns to look directly at you. Lights flicker across its face as it speaks. “Please rest a while here in the marketplace. You can do jobs and earn currency. You can spend the currency on things you like. You can rest and do jobs. Please enter the market place. Be productive. Earn currency. We are watching. Welcome friend.” The robot gestures towards the doors ahead of you, its arms and head twitching constantly as it does so.
“Have been here before? You seem familiar. Each visit is different. The options are endless. Welcome.”
Restless traveller seeking adventure, knowledge, and happiness.
Gus Fudge is a failed rock star who now fails to make a living through various creative means. He once worked as a cabbage harvester and has spent the last ten years working on a script for a comedy series called, 'Commuter Friends' - a dark and hilarious look at the lives of a bunch of Margate to London train commuters.
We are human cyborgs with afros and beards, we wear leather jackets and Bermuda shorts, our socks are always pink. Our purpose is to investigate the unforeseen effects of global events, for example the parallel international decline of tuppée sales and the political rise of Donald Trump.
3"11' high. Loves to tinker and fix. Was a watchmaker in a grand city. Once tried to fix a nobleís large clock and found it too complex and too unfamiliar a design to repair properly. Widely scorned for 'letting the gnome folk name down'. Still scraping a living.
Raised by ninjas in Kilburn, the Orochi Pilgrim searches for his Samurai father in the foothills of the Outer Circle of the Virtual Abyss.
The space in which we all exist, on the ground, in the sky, on the internet. We will give you a place to live as long as you know how to inflate us and have a place to put us ñ bring pegs, you wouldnít want us to float away.
Born in the mid 80s, Rick is a clone from a nomadic tribe of red-cloaked women. Determined to prove his own worth, he has put his tent on air-bnb and embarked on a quest with only his yellow backpack and small fish for company. He has a speed of 6 (when walking) and crafting skills of 9
£1 family from Stoke-on-Trent - we like gardening, growing salads and visiting the green spaces in cities. There are three of us, two with strong fringes and one with a beard. We live next door to a large brownfield and an oil refinery. We are keen bird watchers.
Torridon Croft was born into a life of privilege and quickly developed an insatiable appetite for destruction. It is said that great power demands great responsibility ñ not for young Torridon. Last rumoured to be peddling the Dagger of Xian around Kensington's least reputable antiques dealers. The world turns on Torridon's wretched axis.
Follow nine players as they navigate their way through Happy Redoubt, a post disaster marketplace run by the remnants of the former technological age. They will be entering their moves in real time and will receive bespoke responses from Juneau Projects. Their game will form a unique story as they navigate the marketplace, using arts and crafts skills to survive in a new economy of making and creativity.
Three players will begin, followed by subsequent rounds of three players at a time, each making their own journey. The game will run from 19th May to 22nd July.