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Wonderland: the art of being human

The Wonderland project is about recovery, art and utopia – the hope and active desire for a better present and future. It is mainly about recovery from substance mis-use but also concerns mental health. It is a “Recoverist” research project – a bringing together of art, activism and recovery.

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The Utopia Fair

At the Utopia Fair at Somerset House, the Wonderland team displayed books, a film, emotion cubes and portraits made during the research engagement project.

They used a camping toilet tent as a photobooth and invited visitors to use Cristina Nunez’s methodology to make self portraits using a polaroid-style camera.

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The methodology involves an exploration of emotions. Our first day at the Fair coincided with the result of the referendum on whether to remain in Europe.

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A mother and daughter were visiting a nearby university where the daughter hoped to study. They said that their portraits marked a moment of change as the young woman prepared to leave home.

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Comments on Wonderland books and film

Bill White U.S activist

“I found the 1st cut of Wonderland absolutely fascinating. I have never seen anything quite like it and have hopes it might stimulate other artists to explore recovery through multiple media. I am quite exciting about the possibilities of expressing recovery activism through the arts.”

Wonderland participants

“The film is still for me the most amazing thing. It’s completely different from anything else I have seen about recovery because it captures the process, it is a living thing.”

About the Utopia Fair “Amazing weekend with thinking, feeling people who are brimming full of ideas and actions to make the world a better place for us all.”

Christina Douglass, Arts and Health filmmaker

Powerful, moving, and really thought provoking. Beautiful too. Excellent example of collaborative visual practices generating profound benefit.

Gemma Meek, PGR, MMU, researching collaborative artists books

“The books were beautiful, some really raw and brutal, others quite poetic – some of the portraits reminded me of traditional, art historical styles – the dark backgrounds like Velazquez, the lady with long red hair, very Pre-Raphaelite. When reading the books, I almost felt like I was imposing or entering very personal spaces, and at times this made me feel rather uncomfortable. I don’t view this as a bad aspect, I wonder if in some ways they are meant to be slightly confrontational and honest. Were the photobooks meant to be viewed outside of the group? Were the participants making in mind of a particular reader?”

More information can be found at Wonderland and Recovery