Combining content and research
[The patient's] symptoms occurred in the context of more general feelings of unreality and [of] being dead. In January 1990, after his discharge from hospital in Edinburgh, his mother took him to South Africa. He was convinced that he had been taken to Hell (which was confirmed by the heat), and that he had died of septicaemia (which had been a risk early in his recovery), or perhaps from AIDS (he had read a story in The Scotsman about someone with AIDS who died from septicaemia), or from an overdose of a yellow fever injection. He thought he had "borrowed [his] mother's spirit to show [him] around hell", and that she was asleep in Scotland.
Thinking about bringing form and content more closer together in my research I realised that I read an article a few years back, that would form a perfect starting point. It was an article about people with Cotard Syndrom. As mentioned above. Cotard's Delusion is a mental disorder where people suffer the nihilistic delusion that they are dead or no longer exist. First reported in the 1700s, the disorder is still largely a mystery today.
Having and 'owning' a body is the most self evident thing for me, but these people don't have that experience. I think working with stories of people who experience(d) this and research how I could visualise (dis)embodiment working with immersive cinema would be very interesting. I started by collecting quotes from the articles I read about it. Here are some excerpts:
'Who are you?' The doctor asked' , 'I am nothing', the patient said.
'She complaint about pain in her body, but couldn't say what specifically was 'hurt', only that she was dying from the inside'
'I am really afraid, something isn't right. I want to run away, but don't remember how'
One of the most interesting things about the syndrome for me is that neurologists and neuroscientist think that the key to understand our consciousness lies here. What I would find very interesting is to create this into a documentary storytelling and combine this with tactile skin and vr, to create a sensory and cinematic experience.