medium - video / 3D model
Created by Paul Whittaker
Performer - Aiste Gramantaite
‘Institutional Blue’, is a video piece and installation in which the emotion of viewing is just as important as the view itself. Inverting the traditional door spy hole, the work invites you to take on the role of voyeur and glimpse into a narrative of its own construction. The work, whilst reflecting the many moods experienced within but not necessarily unique to what Paul prefers to call ‘manic depression’, intentionally resists any opportunity for understanding and we are left wondering who is watching who.
“I am attempting to explore the voyeur in all of us and how, if we only see a snapshot of someone’s life, we can only imagine the story of their world. The door I created is ‘institutional blue’. It is common to all the services I have accessed throughout my career as an outpatient. Without realising the relevance it is also the colour I chose to paint my house - which means I have institutionalised myself.”
The work was first exhibited at the Attic Gallery the restaged at The National Centre for Mental Health pop up exhibition & The Hearth Gallery as part of Disability Arts Cymru’s Walls: Murau exhibition, part of the first Welsh Mental Health Arts Festival.
"Paul’s piece, designed specifically for the gallery location, succinctly presented the often intimidating, alienating, lonely event of attending outpatient mental healthcare sessions in poorly provisioned clinics. Pauls work brought a new and intriguing dimension to the gallery; we were excited by his approach, with his understanding of the gallery space, his perception and ability to communicate a multi-layered understanding of mental health, and were keen to offer Paul the gallery space for an R and D project around mental health. He accepted, and in 2017 we commenced collaboration with both Paul Whittaker and his project partner, Tamsin Griffiths."
Melanie Wotton, Curator Hearth Gallery