What’s the best way to break down stigma? It must be to present the positives of living with mental ill health. The surreal world you enter when you’re “in deep” with an acute phase of schizophrenia can be horrifying for the subject; yet, if you can imagine travelling to another planet, completely escaping planet earth for a period while still being here, that’s what it’s like. That’s what the public will experience when the video artwork ‘Mirrored to the core (Schizophrenic love)’ is presented in late 2021.

‘Mirrored to the core’ is about two schizophrenic people who meet and fall in love, while both experiencing an acute phase of schizophrenia. They communicate telepathically and have an understanding and acceptance of their predicament in life. They are intellectual, yet earthy types, and combine being streetwise with having an insight into the schizophrenic condition, which gives them access to deeper parts of the mind.

‘Mirrored to the core’ is a crossover between video art and opera through the subconscious voices of the mind being presented operatically. The collaboration between myself, musical director/composer Jerome van den Berghe and opera director Rosalind Parker is as experimental as high arts gets, combined with an everyday grittiness that you will find in today’s contemporary world.

I might be at an advantage for having this condition, as I have so many unique experiences and always seek out stories to be told that can be displayed through art. Discussing and breaking down the stigmas that surround mental health, along with focusing on alternate narratives about people’s lives, gives us the opportunity and possibility to present the “differences” that articulate our times. Is there truly nothing new to be said? As humans evolve, we continue to discover things that haven’t been openly discussed.