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Salisbury Arts Centre Open 2012 / 3 November 2012

The exhibition 2012 Open: Designs for a future is on from 31st October - 16th December at Salisbury Arts Centre - Free

On Tuesday, curious to see the selectors choice of Sustainable Design, I attended the busy Preview of Salisbury Arts Centre's Open 2012 exhibition.

First impressions were pleasing on the eye, I fell in love with a recycled book floor; an elegant glass, metal and wood table, and the little group of pots bathed in changing projected images.

The expected repurposing of salvaged resources was accompanied by the considered use of quality design, materials and technology. I had some practical questions about functionality, but there was nothing to get me really thinking, until I discovered the psychometers...

Like many of the pieces on show they are finely crafted, but more than most, they are beautiful. And they are thought provoking. First, how did they get there, why were they selected and what do they have to say about sustainability?

Psychometers are a nonsense, like phrenology and other dead-end pseudo-medical diagnostic tools or practices.

These pieces, created by James Morton Evans, using working barometer mechanisms, are deliberately provocative; an invitation to consider perceptions of mental health issues, the position of psychiatry in the sciences, our drive to utilise new technologies in healthcare and also to look at how we might see sustainable well-being in the future.

As it says on his website, James is a 'UK-based designer who draws upon the language of organic morphology to make exquisite, timeless furniture which is as much sculptural as it is functional'; the psychometers are not typical examples of his work, but by presenting them here at this exhibition James prompts some much needed thinking on wider concepts of sustainability.

Keywords: alternative technology,art and mental health,exhibition,mental health myth,psychiatry