A personal record and artistic interpretation of mental illness

“Today is Wednesday, July 21st, 2009.  The anniversary, first anniversary, of the day the house disappeared.”  Thus begins the narration of Virginia Blakeley in the video embedded below.  Virginia is a senior citizen whose mental illness advanced over the years while she recorded her thoughts on audio cassettes.  She is lucid, well-spoken, and up to date (she suggests that people should check Google Earth to see if her house is really there) as she tries to understand the differences between her reality and the reality of others.

Artist Bryn Oh recreated Virginia’s house in Second Life as a project for the Santa Fe New Media Festival.  The installation includes links to the audio recordings as well as authentic family photos, letters, and newspaper articles.  Oh visited Virginia several times in her house and also interviewed her after she was moved to a nursing home. Her videos include machinima recorded inside Second Life and some real world shots.

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