A Note From ITA Executive Director, Jenni Rook and Matt Bodett
From Jenni Rook – When I first heard of Matt’s new project I was reminded once again of how brilliantly he is able to emulate the inner workings of the mind through art. He has dedicated his career and talents to giving his audiences the invaluable experience of seeing the world through his eyes and the eyes of others who live with an invisible mental health diagnosis.
At ITA, we know the arts give voice to thoughts and feelings that cannot be expressed as effectively with words, and Matt gives a voice to many through his work. I have had the pleasure of watching him perform and attending his art shows, each time opening my mind more and more to the unique ways the human brain operates in different bodies. Matt brings awareness to mental illness and the internal experience of those who struggle to live each day in a world surrounded by people who will never understand their inner world.
Matt Bodett is an artist, teacher, and a valued member of ITA’s Advisory Council. I am extremely grateful for his work and am thrilled to be able to support this upcoming project. I asked Matt to share more about “we are, we are”, and he was kind enough to draft the following words…
When I was diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder thirteen years ago I did not comprehend what this would mean for the rest of my life. I certainly struggled with coming to terms with the experiences I was having, as well as understanding the expectations such a label would place on me. Throughout the darkest parts of understanding myself, as well as the light, there has been a constant thread which has made my understanding easier to grasp. Utilizing art, I have been able to tackle many abstract issues and make them into experiences that others can share. Trying to tell others what a hallucination is like can be very difficult. How do you explain that the voice is yours, but not specifically your voice? How do you express the necessity of isolation? Or the pangs of anxiety?
For the last five years I have been crossing my visual art, performance art, and poetic writings to create unique experiences that aim to make the abstracts more relatable, though no less abstract. In the fall of 2018 I will have a series of performances titled ”we are, we are” that aims at the very heart of what I do. Focusing on language structure, identity issues (within the construct of notions of reality), and psychopharmacology I will help the audience to experience the persistent nature of very unique structures of the mind, how I have lived with various aspects of such an intense illness, and how I see healing as a part of the mental health structure. I invite you all to join me, and to bring others who would benefit from a more broad dialogue about mental health. For information about the performances please visit mattbodett.com.
To produce these works 3Arts has allowed me to run a project using their crowdfunding platform. To read more or to support the production of this work please visit 3arts.org/projects and look for “we are, we are”.