‘Lost Person’ by James Paddock 2018
After various conversations with mental health professionals, it seems there is a widespread problem in British society today with people suffering from mental illness and social isolation. Since the 1980s, ‘Care in the Community’ has been the primary means of treating physically and mentally disabled people outside of the institution, and within the safety of their own home. However, their entrapment remains unavoidable. Rather be imprisoned within an institution, these individuals are caged within their own homes, closing their curtains and hiding themselves away from the world. These people soon become lost within a culture and society that is otherwise constantly accelerating, ready to turn a blind eye to any obstacle in its path.
‘Lost Person’ is a moving image installation, designed to embody this struggle. The character we are introduced to is screaming out for help, but his words are muted. His voice has been taken away, and our only means of hearing him is through the subtitles that appear silently at the bottom of the screen. His is another lost person.
We hear British sitcom style characters with canned laughter showing a dark side of British society.
The film suggests an underlying hatred for the vulnerable in society when the voiceover characters house value is a stake, perhaps? Their comedic nature is awkward and uncomfortable to listen to, as if they are there to taunt the man on the screen. We ask, are the voices real or are they a figment of the man’s imagination? Is this juxtaposition of comedy and suffering intended to mock and humiliate? We hear life carrying on outside his window, whilst the character is in isolation. The installation incites us to examine and understand the crippling nature of mental health, as we sit helplessly on the side line.