Artist Spotlight: Natalie Bookchin—My Meds

Written by Ashley Jannasch

Working primarily with video installations, American artist Natalie Bookchin explores the boundary between the individual and society, private and public. Her video, My Meds is a compilation of YouTube videos featuring various individuals listing the medications they are taking. This work includes over 50 separate YouTube videos in a grid-like layout; clips from the videos play simultaneously in clusters when an identical phrase or drug is mentioned.

The beauty of My Meds, beyond its casual, open take on mental illness, is the sense of community Bookchin creates. She finds similarities in personal, diary-esque videos and “matches” them into a larger jigsaw puzzle of similar situations. By using this volume of individual videos, the work is highlighting the commonplaceness of these experiences. Though no two situations are identical, there will always be a community of others with similar circumstances—no one is ever truly alone.

This sense of community could be helpful for those feeling isolated by their illness, especially due to the fact that they may be taking medications too. Due to obvious societal stigma, few people are open to talking about their medications, let alone specifically what they are taking. The vloggers seem to be trying to combat this stigma on their own, but Bookchin’s compilation could (and should) be reassuring to anyone embarrassed by their medications.

The video ends with some of the vloggers briefly stating that their medications have improved how they are feeling—specifically that they are “feeling much better.” By hearing this from real people, rather than doctors or television commercials, this may also reassure those who are doubtful that medications could ever work or are frustrated by the lack of immediate results.

We hope this video will help others feel more confident in their own experiences, or at the very least, feel less alone.

Depression Army encourages everyone to find treatments that work for them. This particular work, however, happens to deal with medications.