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Post from HyperAccess

HyperAccess | Projects | Shadow of a Doubt | Portfolio

  • Shadow of a Doubt: an interactive art installation that entails a simulation of each passerby's shadow, designed to bring the users' attention to issues surrounding lack of access to mental health care. The concept is demonstrated with a Kinect that tracks people's movement, and a large back-lit projection screen. Some of the shadows will intentionally be made to "malfunction", and another person's shadow will have to help them by walking almost uncomfortably close to the "malfunctioning" person. 

    The project tackles the lack of proper mental health care in Cambridge and it's surrounding areas. Mental illness is often stigmatized in such a way that badly impacts the amount of funds given to mental health services. People who donate to charities often don't realize the intensity of some mental illnesses or are brought up to dehumanize those who have them, so they often are unaware or unwilling to help. The hope is that Shadow of a Doubt will make people reflect on this fact and be more likely to take initiative to help others, just as those with functioning shadows can choose to help those whose shadows are broken. Users will walk past the projection and some will notice that their "shadow" is "malfunctioning" but they can't fix it. Only someone who's shadow is normal can fix the "broken" ones. The malfunctions look inhuman to represent the dehumanization of the mentally impaired, and sometimes even if the normal shadows try to help, they will not always succeed to show that not all illnesses can get better with simple tactics, and some never get better.