Focus group feedback to ‘Reassembled…’ (Sept 14)

The development of Reassembled, Slightly Askew continues, with one more focus group held this month, in the same format as the one held in May:

Participants completed a baseline evaluation about their knowledge of neurology, acquired brain injury, psychoacoustics and binaural microphone technology, brain injury support services in Northern Ireland, and if the arts can be used as an effective approach in training for biomedical/health & social care professionals.

They were explained the terms of play, so to speak–if at any point during the audio experience, they wanted to stop listening, they could remove the headphones. They retained an element of control in the immersive experience in which they were lying down in hospital beds, eyes covered with eyemasks, ears covered by headphones. They were also told that while the two short audio samples from the current full draft was being played, they would be supervised, but not stared at.

After the two separate audio samples were played, the participants were gently woken one by one, and invited to return to the discussion table in their own time. There, they revisited their baseline evaluation, made additional comments, and a short group discussion was facilitated:

“The use of the sound technology was impeccable. I have never felt more in this situation before, especially the part where Shannon is being washed in the hospital. I truly believed that I could almost feel it myself! Amazing work!”

“I found this very powerful Shannon—it raised questions for me that I haven’t thought of— why do they have mirrors in lifts?? I was very struck by this I felt like the piece clearly conveyed the powerlessness.”

“I believe this is an excellent tool as it gives an understanding as to what feels like to have an acquired brain injury; the confusion the frustration etc, I felt at points I was experiencing the journey myself”

“Having also spent 3 weeks in the high dependency unit of a hospital in the past year, I found this quite traumatic. While your specific injury was brain-related, have you considered its impact on other types of illness”

“How can I find out more?”

“How did it feel for Shannon waking up in the hospital to foreign Northern Irish accents”

“It is mesmerising, hypnotising”

“Overwhelming—almost like getting soaked in a tidal wave”

“I do feel taken out of myself and vulnerable”

“Very personal piece of work. headphones transport us to her ‘world’/condition, could happen to any of us at any time, need to know more about these issues”

This feedback will be given to the artistic team and inform the next stages of revision as we move toward completion of the final draft before the end of Dec 14.

Reassembled logosShannon Yee is a HATCH supported artist at the MAC from 2013/2014.

When a Sonic Artist performs a craniotomy…

…a cabbage is involved.

As the unique quality of binaural microphone technology captures the subtle aspects of sound, a cabbage-as-head can potentially capture the vibrations and internal sounds of the ‘head’ being cut open and operated on (note the health and safety goggles). Paul drilled holes into the sides of the cabbage and placed the binaural microphones into the ‘earholes’:

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Our rudimentary cabbage craniotomy will provide a bank of surgery sounds that Paul can manipulate, based on the script development the team has done to date. This will also be adjusted based on the expert guidance we receive from Mr RS McConnell, my neurosurgeon and member of the biomedical advisory team.

This support and development has been made possible by a Public Engagement Small Arts Award from The Wellcome Trust.

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