London-based filmmaking collective Crowns & Owls latest work, a print publication and short film combination entitled Within, was premiered last night (18 July) at Protein Studios.
Within is an “ode to our myriad of collective experiences with mental health – an attempt of visually conveying the spectrum of sensations we’ve felt during the navigation of our individual conditions,” the Crown & Owls team tell It’s Nice That. With approximately 25% of the British population experiencing a mental health problem each year, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that artists, designers, and illustrators and other creative types are increasingly open about their experiences.
Produced in association with mental health charity Mind, Within makes prominent use of long-term Mind supporter and male model Dennis Okwera.
The stark stills pair a head-clutching Dennis in a variety of vulnerable positions using bold typography to ask questions like "I’m surely the only one that feels like this, right? and “Am I not man enough to take control of my own life?”
Those images, combined with the short film, make for a project in which can be understood as an attempt at visually conveying what Crowns & Owls describe as “the spectrum of sensations we’ve felt during the navigation of our individual conditions.”
There’s an argument to be made that in recent years, discourse around mental health, and more especially mental health problems and issues, has been stuck in the “let’s just talk about it, guys,” phase, which while incredibly useful, doesn’t necessarily parlay into direct action. In their own small way, Crowns & Owls are hoping that Within can do things differently.
“By attending this exhibition, sharing your experience of it online, purchasing the products on sale, or making a donation,” they say, “you will have had a direct impact on providing treatment for people in desperate need in East London.”
The physical edition of Within is published on 19 July by Catalogue Library. Watch the short film in full, peruse a series of images from the book, and gorge on a few of those aforementioned stills below.