The brain is one of the most precise organs in the human body, it is like Mozart's fifth symphony or Tchaikovsky's violin concerto, not one note or key can be out of place, not one beat can be skipped or the entire piece goes out of sync, the brain is rather similar to that only infinitely more complicated. The brain much like the music piece is a very delicately balanced structure with the chemicals in perfect balance, and if that balance even shifts slightly then it creates a multitude of problems, and reeks havoc, causing illnesses such as schizophrenia, personality disorders, depression and other illnesses.In today's world scientists understand these risks and problems, therefore, are very careful to subject a patient to electroconvulsive therapy but in the 50's and sixties they used it indiscriminately and without care, therefore harming their patients in the long run more than helping them. For ECT sends electric shocks through the brain-altering the delicate chemical balance within. So, therefore, I made my piece to be a statement against the misuse of ECT, trying to show what would happen if it is not used correctly.
A professor by the name of Phillip Zimbardo once explained how power can easily get to
a person’s head, showing how easily one can turn against their friend and demean them, and justas easily gain admiration by hurting the weak. He did this through the Stanford Prison Study. Now it is not the time nor the place for me to go into great detail about it, and the only reason I am even mentioning it is that that study is one that is so eerily
similar to the book ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s nest that I figured I could draw parallels from it.
In the book it was pretty obvious that Nurse Ratchet was the jailor, keeping everyone in check and wielding her power much like a dictator would do, (do bear with me for I promise I am getting to my point, albeit in a slightly roundabout way) and using the threat of electroshock/electroconvulsive therapy as a way of keeping her patients in check. By doing so and continually subjecting her patients an unmeasured amount of electricity to the brain, she was killing their brain cells, inhibiting their neurotransmitters and dulling their synapses in their brain to a point where their brain would eventually shut down and only let involuntary actions rule the body and destroying the mind.This surprisingly enough was a rather common practice in the fifties and sixties, and no one really was able to object to it, not till much later. This mistreatment was actually the reason I chose to base my project on ECT and all of its brutalities, though, in all honesty, I do have to say
that in today’s age they have vastly improved the treatment of patients and only use ECT as a last resort of last resorts, and not without through background research and tests.So I essentially made a costume that is lit up to show electricity coursing through the wires strung through the burns on the fabric and the burn and blood indicate the brutality of the process. Also, the glue gun drips and black and grey sheers are meant to show the dura matter leaking out of the brain, usually through the eyes and the nasal canal.To make this piece I first experimented with burning sample fabrics with the help of a soldering iron because I found that gives a more consistent burn and acts more like an electrical than simple fire does. After that, I started attaching the wire to the costume, and then strung the fairy lights through it. Then came the sheer fabric and the plastic pieces. Next, I dripped the red fabric paint which I mixed a bit to look like blood. After which I used a glue gun with some lavender and silver sticks, which gave the effect of dripping dura matter, to help tie the piece together.This piece is a representation of the detrimental effects of ECT on the brain when used without constraint, and it is also a comment on the cruelty of mental institutions, and how we as the general public must help to better these institutions so that people can receive better care and never have to endure events such as the ones portrayed in the book ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’