Beyond Empathy, Catharsis Installation Nov 2014
Beyond Empathy Catharsis installation opens

Beyond Empathy "Catharsis" installation opens
New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM) 14 November 2014

Catharsis is an interactive community art installation that gives the public a chance to shred their negative thoughts and contribute to the creation of a positive community art work.

What did we do?

A paper shredding machine was set up in a pop-up shop front window in Armidale and people from the community were invited to engage in the cathartic process of writing and shredding their negative thoughts. The shopfront window gradually filled with the community's shredded negative thoughts while positive phrases devised by participants and guest artists were revealed and projected. The growing pile of shredded paper was symbolic of the fact that we are all part of the community and we all have things that we could let go.

The piles of shredded paper that accumulated in the shop space were pulped and recast as fresh sheets of paper in a workshop with Euraba artists and papermakers. The process implied a clean slate, a fresh start.

The freshly cast paper was printed with positive words, phrases and positive aspirations gathered in the Catharsis shop space. The printmaking workshop conducted at the Museum of Printing created original text art prints that are the focal part of the art installation at NERAM. The installation includes artworks, words, images and sounds captured during stage one of Catharsis and is complemented by a cross-community installation in multiple shop windows in the CBD. Be sure to look for the positives!

Why did we do it?

Art, in any form, can provide a voice to express different scopes of the internal self that are usually left silent. Through art, people can reshape their identity. There is a growing body of research which is demonstrating the science behind what we have known to be true; that art encourages self expression, self discovery and emotional growth with gains in empowerment and social inclusion. The process demonstrates clear benefits for mental health and well-being through improving health status, quality of life and coping behaviours.

An additional outcome of the project has been an original song – created in the shop space!
It is available for download at: 
'Catharsis' by Leetona Pitt and featuring Radical Son. 
Music composed by Anthony Green
Produced by Kai Tipping

To see further images of Catharsis, click here