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Use Headphones!


This interactive sound experience activity is one of the many parts of the anti-stigma project, - Redefining Schizophrenia.

“Redefining Schizophrenia” (in collaboration with NIMHANS, Bangalore) aims to birth empathy and spread awareness with people about Schizophrenia. This mental illness is not known by many and yet one tends to stigmatize it easily without understanding what the illness is and the consequences their actions hold against someone who has it. Hence, each part will tackle one of the many issues to bring about better understanding about the illness and a better perspective from a person who suffers from the illness.


The concept of empathy usually comes into play when one gets to experience the horrors of Schizophrenia in real life and not through chunks of texts or movies. That kind of terrifying experience can leave a lasting expression on a person and create empathy towards people who have Schizophrenia. Taking only one of the symptoms of Schizophrenia -

Auditory Hallucinations, this interactive experience was created. It’s easy for someone who doesn’t have it to simply pause the voices but that isn’t the case for someone who suffers from this illness. The voices feel too real and can interrupt someone in the most mundane activities.

The final sound piece is 5 minutes long. Individual tracks were recorded and edited using Pro Tools and later compiled together on Adobe Audition.


While listening to this composed track via headphones, a set of participants (ideally six) are asked to play an engaging game of UNO. At no point, can the headphones be taken off or the audio be paused. The experience can be stopped once the winner is declared!


The inspiration behind this output was from a Buzzfeed video – "What is Schizophrenia like?"

Two people volunteer to listen to an auditory hallucination simulation as they go about their day and realize what a horrifying experience and gain empathy towards the illness.

An idea to combine the project with something similar to Janet Cardiff's – Missing Voice (case study 123) at White Chapel Gallery. (1999)


The project consists of providing each participant with a CD player that contains a guided audio piece that requires you to follow the instructions and move around, transporting one to another reality.


Since people are not open to their illness, it was hard to find people and talk to and understand about their hallucinations and experience. Under other auditory hallucinations simulations on Youtube, I was able to gather a considerable number of people sharing their own experiences in the comments sections that helped to understand and develop this piece.

Through research, certain points became clear for me. Most of the time the voices are negative and degrading but for some people, it’s not always the case. Hence, the simulation consists of a mix of negative as well as neutral thoughts. Keeping in mind the cultural background, a famous Hindi song and Hindi phrases can also be heard. The voices also have a tendency to be suicidal.


Separate audio clips were recorded at Srishti Institute of Art, Design & Technology, N5 sound studio with some help from friends. A sheet of phrases was handed to them and they were allowed to say it in any random order.


A test run was then performed to understand the experience. Participants observed severe distraction and forgetfulness. Some stating it was daunting even. Apart from the final exhibition, another session was conducted along with the students of Deens Academy in the previously mentioned Workshop.


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