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Jonathon Larsen and Kim McConville


Catharsis was an interactive community art installation, created in partnership between Project pARTners and Beyond Empathy. In July 2014, in Stage One of the project, a paper shredding machine was set up in a pop-up shop front window in Armidale and people from the community were invited to engage in the process of writing and shredding their negative thoughts. Over a four week period, the shopfront window gradually filled with the shredded negativity of 467 participants. After the shredding of the negative, participants were encouraged to record positive phrases, aspirations and affirmations on video and in graffiti on the shop walls. Every evening, these were projected onto a screen in the shop window for passing motorists and pedestrians to observe.

Stages two and three of the project involved taking the shredded paper and remaking it into new paper with Euraba artists and papermakers. A follow up workshop at the Museum of Printing (NERAM) made use of old letter press technology, to print the positive participant affirmations and aspirations onto the freshly cast hand-made paper.

The Art installation at the New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM) became the final focus of the six month Catharsis process. It was an expression of all the positive phrases and ideas that had emerged during Stage One of the project; it included a projection, a hand printed paper grid, interactive vinyl text and a sound scape. It was in place from 14 November to 14 December, 2014 at NERAM and items were also on display in shop front windows throughout the Armidale CBD.

Art, in any form, can provide a voice to express different aspects of the internal self that are usually silent. Through art, people can reshape their identity. Participants in the Catharsis project overwhelmingly reported positive outcomes from their engagement in the program, ranging from feelings of mood elevation and greater feelings of empowerment, through to more profound effects in those dealing with mental health issues, including enhanced coping strategies and feelings of social inclusion.

View the Catharsis video

Jonathon LarsenJonathon Larsen

Jonathon Larsen is a contemporary multimedia artist and designer with extensive experience working in community. After majoring in film at the Queensland College of Art, he has spent many years working as a visual artist, film maker, animator and designer - often combining his skills to create immersive multimedia installations.

Jonathon created Artbytes with a view to work creatively in the digital realm. In addition to managing independent art projects, and creating and teaching visual art, he has been employed in regional galleries, universities and in the community arts sector.

Kim McConvilleKim McConville

Kim has been working with Aboriginal communities for 26 years and has used arts, culture and community development practices to influence change, increase health, wellbeing, education and learning outcomes for young people and their families experiencing recurring hardship. Kim worked for seven years with the award winning organization Big hART, before establishing BE in 2004 with long-time colleague and creative partner Phillip Crawford.

Kim has extensive expertise in facilitating collaborative practices across divided and multiply disadvantaged communities, enabling divided groups and individuals to find new ways to work together. Her work is renowned for the ‘long haul'; staying with communities for ten years or longer. Kim has been awarded for her collaborative practices and forging new partnerships across Government, Corporate, Philanthropic and Community sectors. She is a founding director of Creating Australia.