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The Pits

David Critchley
2000
Colour Video

The Pits

'We see a lot of people in surgery who are unhappy. One of the difficulties in general practice is deciding which of them have a clinical depression that may benefit from drug treatment as well as talking treatments such as psychotherapy, counselling or other forms ofpsychological support.

From listening to Steve talking about his experience of clinical depression it becomes clear that this is very different from ordinaryunhappiness.'

Dr Liz Lee

In responding to Liz Lee's prompting on the general subject of depression, I immediately thought of my own down-times and how I might be able to relate to this subject as an artist. As ever, the things closest to one's own experience and readily to hand became the metaphors for this most difficult to pin down illness.

Collaboration and feedback from people close to me, and relating to places I know formed the backdrop for the patient-doctor discussion between Steve and Liz which took place with Steve's positive agreement and consent. Thesubject of the tapes grew out of Steve's stories of depression, in an intuitive way for me. The barely controlled descent into a cliff-top pitwith the camera swinging on its strap seemed to fit his description of going down a black-hole, while the frantic activity of children at theScience Museum grain pit has an opposing collaborative and successful feel, albeit interposed with hundreds of Prozac pills for assistance.

The installation was arranged so that a single viewer could sit in the doctor's chair and relate one-to-one with Steve while the projectedbackdrop unfolds behind his monitor on the psychiatrists couch. - D.C.

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