The Mind Room was the unexpected star of the Fourth Portal stage 2 testing. Exhibited on the walls were paintings by Kevin Gavaghan. In this 15-minute video, Kevin speaks candidly about his mental health struggles and discusses the relief painting can bring and why visitors engaged as they did with the Mind Room.
Window to an inner emotion
When asked why people open up so quickly about their mental health issues on entering the mind room, artist Kevin Gavaghan responded, ‘because it probably opens a window to their own inner emotions.’
Kevin has been asked by the Wellcome Trust to write a piece on his work for an upcoming issue of their magazine. This piece will expand on the motivations of the work and the varied reactions of the viewer.
Watch Kevin Gavaghan discuss his work
Artist Kevin Gavaghan discussing the Mind Room with Fourth Portal’s John McKiernan
Mind Room Surprise
The purpose of the Mind Room was to introduce some freely available technologies that can have a positive impact on people suffering from mental health issues.
The success of the Mind Room was the biggest surprise during test 2 of the Fourth Portal popup in Great Yarmouth. It was composed to experiment with ideas that might initiate conversations around mental health issues without being too direct. In designing the Mind Room, it was essential to create a sense of relaxation while gently challenging visitors. Displayed on the walls were a series of paintings by artist Kevin Gavaghan. Kevin suffers from Tourettes Tics, anxiety and an acute eye issue that causes vision distortion. In the video, Kevin discusses his conditions and how he embraces them in his art.
The paintings resonated with people of all ages. NHS employees and mental health practitioners commented on how the Mind Room could benefit clients and the potential for it to expand. People who had suffered a mental health episode told of how they could relate directly with the artist through the paintings. We had a number of returning customers who had received an ADHD diagnosis. They found the space calming. The most surprising reactions were from people not presenting any mental health issues or having any diagnoses but who shared quite personal information about themselves within moments of walking into the Mind Room. Although these conversations cannot be documented for obvious reasons, they did boost the scope of what technologies can be included in future Mind Rooms.
Future Mind Rooms
The intention of the Mind Room was to host a number of technologies focused on the mind. Time constraints and internet infrastructure issues restricted the ability to install the first series of apps. In hindsight, this may prove beneficial, as we now have a better insight into the range of challenges people face in daily life. Discussions on how best to embed this learning from test 2 into future Fourth Portal Mind Rooms have begun.
More about the video
This video was filmed in one take on an iPhone14pro, with no editing, by John McKiernan, Founder of the Fourth Portal.
Narrator: John McKiernan
Interviewee: Kevin Gavaghan
Recorded at the Fourth Portal, 2 Stonecutters Way, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England
http://www.fourthportal.com. | @fourthportal