Just out of the corner of my eye I snatch a glimpse of a white vision. A lady has entered the booth and is disrupting 'Jeffrey's' new found peace, by trying to get a message to God. Clad only in a hospital bed sheet and clutching a white dove, her hands shoot up and plead with her deity. A number of students converge to deal with the disturbance, but Georgina is on a roll and darts into anther booth, students scurry to contain this saintly whirling devish, and I am left with 'Jeffrey'. Unattended he opens a window, pauses on the edge of the sill, but luckily doesn't jump. Instead he's had enough and walks out of the ward.
I made my way between the booths, a voyeur and an artist who was desperate to catch all the action. 'Sandra' is abusive, she shouts at the other patients and threatens a student. Her left hand is entwined in her hair, turning repetitively, agitated. She hears voices saying abusive things, it seems that she has been abused herself. The brave students keep calm but suddenly there are more bodies in close attendance.
There are quieter interactions though. I come across 'Jane', she isn't saying anything but is obviously furious about her mother's care. She sways in her chair like a listing ship, an inner battle rages in her head. Her mother is in the cubicle next door, a charming lady called 'Daisy', she seems absent minded and continually searches for her glasses in her bag.
Hopefully she'll grab it with both hands but this must be the frustration and sadness with some patients, if they choose to enter the deepest waters alone.
It was a poignant reminder that these simulations were sometimes about failure. Learning from the experience even if things go wrong, because now is the time to do so with Kingston University's Facilitators holding the safety net.
'Julie's' hands propped up her heavy head while paranoid eyes darted nervously from side to side, 'Francis' couldn't trust her hands, they just had to be sat on, locked in place, just like her emotions. 'Leo's' waved uncontrollably in front of his chest and then caught an imaginary butterfly, holding it to his heart like a tender fleeting moment of positivity and warmth.
We'll be exhibiting all the drawings and paintings from this brief art residency at The Frank Lampl Building on 25th July 2013. I've also been commissioned to make a short film/documentary of the experience and I'll let you know more info when its near completion.
Despite personally sailing close to some depressive winds I hope I never end up in a position like Jeffrey, Georgina, Sheila, Jane, Sandra, Daisy, Jamie, Peter, Julie, Francis or Leo, but if that happens, I know I'll be in safe hands.