Collective Impromptu

A peak into the collective unconscious

Using one ambiguous picture from the psychological assessment test, The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), college students were approached and asked to tell a story from the beginning, middle, and end describing what they saw in the photograph. This artwork was gathered almost like a psychological assessment. It lacked controlled settings, set independent and dependent variables, and contained too many possible confounding variables to actually be considered a psychological study.

While they were performing this task, photographs of their profile were taken during, before, and after. The photographs were then assembled into a stop motion. Audio of their stories were also collected and then added to the video.

The Use of the Thematic Apperception Test

In a clinical setting, the narration created by a subject would be carefully recorded and analyzed to uncover underlying needs, attitudes, and patterns of reaction. Although most clinical practitioners do not use formal scoring systems, several formal scoring systems have been developed for analyzing TAT stories systematically and consistently. Two common methods that are currently used in research are the: A person’s thoughts/feelings are projected in stories involved. This work allows one ambiguous image to be compared by multiple people. Revealing their own unique and then sometimes closely related stories. Diving into a possible discussion of a collective unconscious.

What is the Collective Unconscious?

This art project takes the TAT out of the context of a clinical setting and attempts to use it as a form of conversation starter. A possible way to get on a deeper level of conversation with strangers. Notice any trends as you listen to the different stories from person to person. Can you see some sort of collective unconscious revealing itself? Carl Jung believed the collective unconscious is revealed by shared archetypes, images, and themes in the history of humankind. Thus the TAT relies on this allowing the individual to reveal personal feelings related to these commonalities.

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