Isaac x Mitchell
When it’s hard to find the words, music can be our language
For mental health advocate Isaac, difficult life experiences found him unmoored and lost for words. When speaking out felt out of reach, music provided a language that helped him sift through his experiences and bridge the divide he felt within himself.
With composer and fellow music enthusiast Mitchell, Isaac explores the power music can have to hold memories and experiences that can help make sense of our inner landscapes, and offer us a language to share our feelings with others.
Isaac Percy (he/him)
My journey with my mental health started when I was 13. My friend died the morning before my birthday. It was one of those life-changing experiences that was full of confusion – where you cannot understand what is happening and you don’t know how to talk about how you’re feeling.
Later down the track, I had my first serious relationship. When it ended, I felt like I lost who I was. I distanced myself from family and friends, I gave up uni, I gave up looking after myself – I became someone I didn’t like. I started having regular anxiety attacks. I often felt very lost in my thoughts, my memories felt blurred, and my emotions were overwhelming.
During these times, I didn’t know how to talk about my emotions. I felt like I only had one outlet – music. Music was where I could go to express myself, and it saved me on many occasions. Connecting with people through music also supported me to open up about my feelings.
Mitchell MacKintosh (he/him)
‘Unthought Known’ is a term coined in object relations theory. This work explores memory, subconscious processes and the experiences that shape stories about who we are, and our relationships to the world and each other.
Isaac shared stories of his experiences and relationships to sound and music. We discovered that we shared a common practise of capturing incidental field recordings and videos, collecting and archiving moments in sound and video.
We collated these experiences, reimagining them as something new and digesting them into an audio-visual collage; a space where we might find new understandings of our own experience.
We shared the raw video footage and finished soundscape with filmmaker, Belski. This was also the first time I have worked with a filmmaker to create vision in response to a sound work. It was exciting to see Belski’s response to the piece in moving images, bringing their experience to the table with such eloquence.
MY VISIBLE MESSAGE
Be the person you needed when you were growing up.
I wanted to create a piece inspired by the safety and support that music has played in my life – from when I had my first anxiety attack to the first time I spoke about what I had been feeling.
Using voice memos and videos from my life, we created a work that cannot be replicated. I want the people who experience this work to make their own meaning, using their own experience. It is beautifully ambiguous and that is really intentional. I would love people to reflect on their memories, embrace the emotions they felt, and share them with someone. Sharing can feel scary, but there is always someone who will listen.
There was a sense of responsibility that came with handling fragments of Isaac’s life – to handle them respectfully, as precious objects. It felt very intimate and vulnerable to weave these fragments with moments from my own experience and create the fabric of something new.
The weight of this responsibility – to do justice to these gifts – at times, felt somewhat overwhelming. Yet, through our collaboration, I began to understand the work as existing detached from my ego, something previously inconceivable, a new fabric woven from threads of experience.
Working with Mitch was such a powerful experience. In my life, I have been able to use music with my project, ‘Smash the Silence’, as a tool to help people share stories about their own mental health experiences however, I had never had someone use my journey as inspiration for their work.
Mitch has such a brilliant mind and an incredible ability to convey emotions through soundscapes. It is something I admire and I’m beyond grateful for the work he has created. He was extremely respectful and the process will be something I’ll never forget.
Isaac Percy (he/him)
Isaac is a 23-year-old from Camden, NSW and is a passionate and creative individual who loves sharing ideas through music. Isaac’s love for music inspired him to create the annual ‘Smash The Silence’ youth event, raising awareness of youth mental health in a safe space with the support of local youth musicians and artists.
Mitchell MacKintosh (he/him)
Mitchell MacKintosh is a composer and sound designer based in Naarm (Melbourne). Creating bespoke sound worlds for film, installation and dance with a focus on collaborative and interdisciplinary projects, Mitchell is interested in exploring the connection between internal and external experience.