The facility is available from March 21 through December 20.
Talking about mental health, processing thoughts and sorting out feelings can be a challenge, especially with the social stigma around it.
But striking up a conversation can still be a starting point for breaking the stigma, which internationally acclaimed Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist is trying to achieve through her latest opus in Qatar.
“Your brain for me, my brain for youis a collaboration between the National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ) and the Ministry of Public Health of Qatar (MoPH). The exhibition offers visitors a multi-sensory experience and an opportunity to delve into the complexity of the human brain.
“The idea was that as a result of the pandemic, our lives have changed…so with that in mind, we were thinking about everyone’s mental state. We realize that mental health is something something we don’t normally talk about,” NMoQ Exhibitions Manager Bouthayna Baltaji said Doha News.
Upon entering the exhibition, visitors are greeted with a calm atmosphere that is softly lit by 12,000 LED lights hanging from cables in a darkened room throughout the gallery. Each light represents neurons that are connected with their changing colors and pulsating movements.
“My message is to use your museums as places where we can understand each other,” Rist said. Doha News.
The installment is Rist’s latest and greatest release from pixel forest, another immersive video installation that uses lighting to create a sense of dimensionality in a single space.
Flashing lights, however, can cause discomfort and trigger seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy and other light-sensitive conditions.
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“On a large scale, it’s a collective emotional intelligence. A mastermind alone is amazing, but bring together a whole community of minds that are educated, that seek that self-improvement and you have something that is unstoppable,” Baltaji said.
A number of natural sounds continue to play in the background throughout the exhibition.
Rist said his installation was a chance for visitors to disconnect from their cellphones and have plenty of time to contemplate their emotions. The work also projects a cultural element, with background noise depicting Qatar’s history and landscape.
Another part of the exhibition includes an empty darkroom which offers visitors the opportunity to express themselves on an empty black wall using phosphorescent markers. The third and final part of the exhibition features an animated film for children to talk about mental health and for adults to watch as well.
With children being a crucial starting point for breaking the mental health stigma, Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, president of Qatar Museums, said the artwork will be permanently installed in Dadu, the Qatar Children’s Museum.
The exhibition complements the objectives of the Ministry of Health “Are you OK?” mental health campaign, which aims to encourage the public to address issues related to their own mental well-being.
“This exhibition is a fantastic metaphor to help people forget the stigma […] mental health is something we should all be thinking about. Taking care of our minds and our own psychological well-being is essential if we are to be healthy,” said Iain Francis Tulley, chief executive of Hamad Medical Corporation’s mental health service.