THE HEAD VS HEART IS A GRADUATION PROJECT which initially began Fall of 2010 focusing on ways to promote emotional transparencies for those with depression, and how objects can embrace cathartic thought processes as means of healing. I took a risk by investing in a subject very close to my own heart and my own experiences.

As I looked inwards, I knew that it was too vague; this alluded to my floundering level of interest as my personal struggle with depression (having been diagnosed in the spring of 2010 with major depressive disorder) dissolved my abilities to focus and function. I took a leave of absence that fall, leaving the project on hiatus.

Illustration from Red Tree by Shaun Tan

When I returned with a new energy, I came to some clear decisions about what I wanted to do by asking myself why I want to do it. I feared that this was a selfish exploration but quickly learned that my struggles with this disorder only compelled further investigation. It is a difficult task to explain something as abstract emotion. If it were a broken leg, I wouldn’t feel as if I had to justify why I felt discomfort. Not only do I still have a difficult time communicating my internal battles with myself, but with my loved ones. I knew that I could not be the only one who harboured this darkness, this detachment from understanding one’s disability. To expose one’s vulnerability is a feat. I want to help with that process and provide a range of designed objects to speak of those struggles.

In the beginning of the semester, after all the students presented their intentions for their graduation project, the question that drifted over all our heads was, “why do you want to do this?” and I felt a confidence knowing that I knew exactly why.