In the fall of 2019 our class was to begin researching a social issue topic for purpose of designing an exhibit around it. One thing I tried to keep in mind was to pick a topic that wouldn’t become too tiresome or depressing to engage with for a year’s worth of research. Based on personal experience, the subject of psychedelics and their positive effect on the human brain has always been intriguing to me. I had heard the topic of MDMA being used to medicate those with PTSD while listening to a podcast. It seemed like an interesting story. . .
This exhibit showcases the social issue topic of MDMA assisted therapy for people afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a chronic anxiety disorder following a traumatic event. every year in the US, 8 million people suffer from PTSD. MDMA is a synthetic compound that increases one’s capacity for empathy. It is currently classified as an illegal drug in the US. Clinical trials managed by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies have proven this drug to be highly beneficial in aiding those with PTSD. By altering our perception of this drug, we can increase our own capacity for empathy.
Execution: Having arrived at what I wanted the viewer to take away from my exhibit, I then developed the concept of altering or distorting one’s perception for the sake of better understanding. The question and design challenge was how to go about displaying some distorted visionary element that would also convey my topic clearly. In order to literally convey the idea of altering ones perception for better understanding of the topic, the exhibit includes an interactive element. By engaging the spectator’s eye and participation through color interaction and a red lensed viewer, the exhibit presents an alternate view on the topic of MDMA and its benefits for those who suffer from PTSD.