Art & Culture

Visual Diet: how the images we see impact our mental health

We are what we consume...

“Imagery, like anything else, can be healthy or harmful, addictive or nutritious. And now, more so than ever, this has become a massive issue with the huge cultural impact of social media”, Rankin explained, “Every platform is full of hyper-retouched and highly addictive imagery, and it’s messing people up. As a photographer, I feel like my medium has been hijacked by people that are misusing and abusing its power.” Teaming up with MTArt Agency and M&C Saatchi, the three partners launched an initiative to see whether what we visually consume is as impactful as it what we physically do. Visual Diet was the outcome of this question, delving into the abundance of images and the stream of infinite content to see how it all affects us. Aiming to promote a balanced visual diet, the campaign hopes to “prevent our audience binging on overly-processed, body- and mind-negative content.”

The Visual Diet project will feature an exhibition and a panel talk with Rankin and Marine Tanguy of MTArt Agency on 24th January at M&C Saatchi’s offices on Golden Square. There will be five artists on display – Adelaide Damoah, Clemence Vazard, Federico Clapis, Joseph Turnbull and Camila Gonzalez – whose work engages with the concept and challenges our perception. As well as this exhibition, the Instagram account (here) and website (here) allow us to evaluate our own content consumption by voting if the effect is positive or negative. In addition there will be a digital poster, which uses AI technology developed by M&C Saatchi, which can read people’s reactions to different images as they walk past. The project explains, “the poster will be fed with a range of content, from journalistic photography, to sports, celebrity, art, illustration and everything in-between. Logging all interactions, both positive and negative, from people’s facial expressions, the poster technology will score each image with a positive engagement mark, killing off those that receive negative feedback.”

Follow Visual Diet on Instagram here to stay up to date, and vote yourself online here

15 January 2019