Every Wednesday morning from 0900 to 11 am I walk through the black steel gates at Our Place Society where homeless people from Victoria City go to sit in the drop-in center and have some food and coffee. I bring my Visual Connection Mapping sign and place it on the table and I take out my clip board and pens and get ready for an individual to sit next to me. Within minutes of my arrival an individual sits down. If the individual wants more information about Visual Connection Mapping I will share that with him or her but most of the time the individuals have participated in Visual Connection Mapping and know what it is and how it operates. Most of the time an individual sits down and while he starts to talk I start to draw lines on a piece of paper.
Visual Connection Mapping started in October 23rd, 2014 and this meeting is to mark the one year anniversary. More than 200 Visual Connection Mapping sessions have been conducted at Our Place Society at the drop in Center. The secret of the Visual Connection Mapping is that it is pro-psychotic. Visual Connection Mapping welcomes psychotic symptoms like paranoia, hallucinations and dissociations. It also welcomes avolition, flat affect and a lack of insight. It actually welcomes psychotic behaviours, criminal histories and personality disorders combined with addictions and other acute health problems in fact it also welcomes sexual deviants and sex offenders to talk about their lives with me. Visual Connection Mapping does not judge another person, it accepts the other person in a whole and unconditional way. Visual Connection Mapping places the individual first and validates, listens and acknowledges their unique point of view without judgement.
Visual Connection Mapping is not a therapy, nor is it any form of counseling it is meta-psychology. The process of Visual Connection Mapping includes tapping into the unconscious nature of the individual and allowing the conversation to roll in any direction what-so-ever. It can include free association, personal histories, observations about the outside world or important life situations encountered. The talker takes the reigns by verbalizing a conversation while the drawer moves her pen across the paper. The dynamic of the talker and the drawer is synchronized. While the person is talking, the listener is drawing and comprehending what is going on. The marks of lines on the paper represent the conversation resembles an in depth level of meta-psychology and psychic components. These psychic components can include emotion transferences, intonation elevations and hand and eye gestures made within the dialogue. The act of drawing lines on the paper represent the human connection between two human beings and it represents the unique dynamic between the two individuals in a way which cannot be replicated. This act of communication highlights humanity to its utmost heights because it illuminated the potential existentialism in the soul of the individual. This form of communicating empowers the individual’s unique character and this acceptance and validation of existence contributes both to the individual’s sense of self and to their own unique self-respect. Visual Connection Mapping focuses 100% on the individual. Each session is original. Sometimes an individual will sit down for a conversation every Wednesday morning and sometimes the individual will sit down, spill his heart out and then feel better and never return again. The drawings locks in the conversation which ensures the confidentiality of the dialogue. At the same time all dialogues are down in the drop-in center versus in a little office room. The idea about being in the drop in center is to create an alliance with not just the individual sitting down to talk but also with others within earshot of the conversation. The act of sharing the communication and being visible to other’s creates a rapport and a trust within the Our Place Society community. Visual Connection Mapping is a communication Model – versus an art idea. Visual Connection Mapping is not art, it is a communication and the drawings are communication drawings. They reflect truth, honesty and the building of an alliance – one based on trust and safety. Visual Connection Mapping and the drawings are a representation of the homeless community in Victoria City and it is the communication device which listened to and encoded their unique experiences not in verbal concrete words but in abstract lines. Visual Connection Mapping represents the voices of the most vulnerable, most marginalized and the individuals with the most disparities. The drawings that represent this group of individuals may bring an audience in the general community to an absolute confusion and perhaps to a disgust at the seemingly unstructured movements of lines but to the trained art historian or medical practitioner these drawings turn into delicate museum artefacts and medical files illustrating the darkest secrets of each individual expressed with consciously or unconsciously and they map a unique soul like nothing that has ever been mapped before. The authentic journey into the soul conversation highlights the individual’s existence. More often then not the individual’s have their own philosophies to which they live by and create their own set of codes of ethics in which they determine for themselves what is right and what is wrong for their own lives. Hardly ever does finance come into the conversation, instead past memories and explanations for existence are components which come to the surface. Pain and anguish through verbalization seems to rarely be a topic of conversation. Instead the topics range from history to philosophy to economics to technology. Often topics seem to be reoccurring choice topics such as Vegan or Buddhism or Bible Studies. The individual that participate at Our Place Society in the Visual Connection Mapping always seem to take the helm and they whisk me off to their own descriptions of their own existentialisms. I get the impression that individuals enjoy asserting authoritative power over me by expressing their own unique points of views something that is a pride and a value to them and at the same time individuals seem to want to share their own ideologies with me with the hope and convictions that I, as the drawer and listener, will be over-turned and join them in their beliefs.
Whether the beliefs are something I would consider or not gets transferred into the lines and structures within the lines start to take shape. Balanced symmetry within the abstract lines equal the balancing of the dialogue, like a successful completion of walking on a tight-wire act at a circus. When practicing a non-judgemental stance often the talker lets his imagination race from many topics like the multiple wave directions on the ocean on a stormy day. The feelings of the experience can be experienced in a psychosomatic way for the drawer because of the profound intensity of absolute conviction which the talker expresses himself often feels like the words were contained for days only to be released onto my ears when I arrive on Wednesday morning. The lines capture the intensity and the psychosomatic feelings on to paper and the abstraction documents the propsychotic verbalization of symptom expression mixed with existentialism equaling the individualization of the talker. Documenting psychosis through the line frequency drawings often makes the talker feel at ease during the dialogue. I can tell because often aggressive words become soothing words and aggressive intonations become soothing intonations and aggressive body language gets replaced with a more gentler body language and the terror in the eyes gets replaced with a softness in the eyes. These qualities all together are so precious and are such a big part of communicating that they often get missed but each word, intonation, body language, eye contact and overall feeling means so much when communicating with each other and this is what the lines on the paper symbolize. This in depth human connection of reciprocated communication on a meta psychological level, something unique to each dialogue and something that cannot be scientifically measured through graphs, calculations and mathematic equations but something of equal or more value to human kind and I believe that it is in this essence that at least attempts to both bringing psychosis to light and at the same time accepting psychotic existence through validation which as a end result lessens the human psychological distress contained within a trapped soul.
Bringing the Visual Connection Mapping idea to the community tonight is an attempt to share both the intrinsic values of the most marginalized in Victoria City and to share with you the uniqueness of dialoguing with the individuals face to face. Visual Connection Mapping is one tool amoungst an array of treatments, therapies, supports and help that a marginalized individual can choose to use. Visual Connection Mapping is not a cure for human suffering but it is a device which encodes the human suffering and transmits the decoding of the human experience onto paper through line frequency drawings – hence bringing the psychosis to light and providing a loop back in the dialogue for observational reflection and feedback by the drawer and the talker both at the same time. Visual Connection Mapping drawings are of an anonymous nature but at the same time they are personalized to past direct interactions so the purpose of the drawings is twofold. One to be an expression of captured human experience and one which is the personal medical file record which the drawings take on. Exposing the method, technique and act of Visual Connection Mapping with the general population is intended to inspire, motivate and bring awareness about the lives of Victoria City’s most marginalized. It is an expression of hope that more improvements in quality of life can be attained through this method and through perhaps other methods in the future. This talk about Visual Connection Mapping is intended to spark an interest in learning how to communicate with an individual who attends the drop-in center at Our Place Society on a metapsychological level through mapping human experiences abstractly. This is the creation of a brandnew language transmission which needs time to cultivate and expand in the future. It is the hope that components of Visual Connection Mapping will inspire others to view the complexity of this humanity model through a brandnew set of logic, a logic based on Existentialism versus stigma and hope versus despair.