Sound Art & the Stigma of Suicidal Thoughts
Jules Bryant talk to MM about his latest Project // www.julesbryant.co.uk
Right off the bat, what do you need from us?
I’m doing a project to challenge the stigma about men who have suicidal thoughts. To achieve this I need help from men who have or who had suicidal thoughts. This link will take you to a short ANONYMOUS questionnaire where you can complete as much or as little as you want.
What is this Project about?
This is Sound Art for the promotion of knowledge and understanding of male suicidal ideation amongst the UK populace. Stigma is characterised by ignorance and fear. For far too long, male suicide, the suicidal thoughts of men, and the reasons why men may feel suicidal, have been hidden from view. I was moved by recent articles and statistics to consider how I could use my Sound Art to reduce the stigma that is a known contributor to isolation, which we already know is a factor in suicide.
I attended the 2016 ManMade conference; the speakers and the work being done around the country are inspirational. I explained my project to people like Terry Rigby from Forward for Life and with all the support and encouragement I have received, I believe this Sound Art project can make a difference. I’ve already set-up the Blue Penguin Collective as a channel for public engagement where people can view some of my socially engaged art and following the link to the questionnaire for this project. By sharing their experiences, men who have/ had suicidal thoughts, can improve the public’s knowledge and understanding, reduce the stigma and isolation, and work towards increasing the levels and types of support.
Who is Jules Bryant?
I’m a Sound Artist, a husband, and father to 3 children. I use the term Sound Artist to describe what I do so that people realise they are not going to get a nice traditional song. I use sound in a similar way that an artist might use paints, by using a variety of sound sources (either generated by me or from other sources or field-recordings). I aim to evoke specific emotional responses to encourage engagement with subjects or issues that need tackling. Although I refer to the music as Sound Art, I also often work with visual art forms as well to create a powerful impact on the senses. Sometimes I collaborate with other artists.
As well as working with different art forms (—I’m currently exploring situational art—), I’m exploring new ways of combining sound sources and tackling ever more complex and sensitive issues. Between live performance and installation works, I’ve encompassed the Syrian refugee crisis, UK military personnel deaths in Iraq, social issues in Blackpool, and much more, like mental health issues.
I use Sound Art to highlight important issues and to challenge the public to engage with subjects that they may have only cursorily noticed as a news item or not really considered deeply. My work is often simple in structure yet sonically complex and requires deep listening and engagement in order to appreciate all the sonic dimensions and evolutions that occur during the pieces. It’s about being aware and conscious of one’s place, being present in the moment and thinking about the subject being presented, really opening-up and listening to what is going on and reflecting on what it means to you personally, as an individual.
Anything more you have to tell us?
With the Blue Penguin Collective and the Sound Art Stigma of Suicide project, if anyone is interested in being more involved, there is the option to leave an email address at the end of the questionnaire.
There are also social media and website links so that you can keep up to date with the project whether you want to be involved or not; you can access all of these through my website. Thanks for reading. Please do get in-touch and fill-out the questionnaire. Please share the link.
Suicide is an emotive subject, if you need to talk now, contact the Samaritans on 116 123 (24 hours a day, free to call).
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