AUDIO STUDENT EXPLORES MENTAL HEALTH THROUGH IMMERSIVE ART

Brisbane

4 Dec 2019

Ashlea Saron 1

4

Dec

AUDIO STUDENT EXPLORES MENTAL HEALTH THROUGH IMMERSIVE ART

4 Dec 2019

Music and art are vehicles for our emotional expression; a platform to tell the stories of our ups and downs. Using this knowledge, SAE Brisbane audio student Ash Saron has created an immersive installation titled Misophonia.  

Misophonia tells the story of Ash’s personal struggles with mental health issues, self-harm and addiction, and the journey of emerging on the other side. 

While growing up in Mackay QLD, Ash was subjected to environments of bullying and domestic abuse. Ash experienced a reassuring presence through the integration of art and music in his life; a coping mechanism that saw oil painting and violin practice sit alongside activities such as dirt biking. 

Leaving school, Ash began working in a music shop before moving into the building and construction industry. Working in various roles, Ash found his career path wasn’t fulfilling. He lost a sense of direction and connection, and spent a significant amount of time in hospital receiving help for his mental health.

After moving to Brisbane and subsequently injuring himself while working as a scaffolder, a dark period commenced for Ash and he experienced a long stay in a mental health facility. Here, he was diagnosed with clinical depression and social anxiety, which Ash says was a turning point to recovery. 

“When I was finally diagnosed, everything made sense. Having that information was powerful and I decided I was sick of doing what was expected of me, I was going to forge another path.” 

“I heard about SAE through a friend who was supporting me, so I wanted to check it out. I was probably talking to Course Advisor Taryn for about a year before enrolling.”

Ash says that once he came on campus and saw the AVID S6 audio console, the decision to enrol was an easy one. 

“I love technology, I thought this S6 is a spaceship that I need to learn how to master.”

“I have always found a deep joy in music, it has helped me through some tough times. Once I decided that I wanted to do something that I like doing, without the pressure of what I thought I should be doing, I didn’t look back.”

Working with the AVID S6 has been a highlight throughout Ash’s studies, and now nearing the completion of his Bachelor of Audio, Ash was inspired to tell his story and the Misophonia project was born. 

Misophonia is an immersive installation combining sound and image, it comprises primarily of audio stimulation with supporting visuals. The images are purposefully ambiguous, open to interpretation and layered. 

Ash says that the process of creating Misophonia was confronting as old emotions and struggles resurfaced during the project’s development. But through it all, a deeper understanding of himself was found, something that Ash says has been mirrored in feedback from the audience after first exhibiting Misophonia at SAE’s Info Night last week. 

“The work itself isn’t necessarily pleasant, it can be confronting to an audience, which is honest to the emotional states that it is trying to emulate.” 

“The discussions from those who have experienced it confirm it is a relatable work. People have either gone through the same struggles or know someone who has been through something similar. The audience came away with a different understanding of me, themselves and those around them”

Ash is currently looking for other opportunities to exhibit Misophonia and says that the work is still in a process of evolution. 

“I’m currently looking at the Creative Sparks Program to apply for a grant to develop Misophonia further and I’m in talks with the State Library. The ultimate goal would be to exhibit at GOMA.”

While creating new immersive and interactive artworks are in Ash’s future, he also wants to focus on other aspects of audio that he has learnt during his studies. 

“I’m interested in post-production. How they make things happens behind the scenes has always fascinated me; I would love to open QLD’s first Dolby Atmos studio that creates 3D surround sound for film.” 

But first, Ash will stay in Brisbane and start freelancing with his company Perception Audio once he graduates this year, with career aspirations of becoming an experienced multimedia and audio visual professional. 


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