Jacob Davies Finding Control

  • Tauira / Student
    Jacob Davies
  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    George Hajian, Tatiana Tavares, Becky Ford
  • School
    AUT Art + Design

Due to the increasing scale and complexity of climate change, young adults across Aotearoa are experiencing a sense of hopelessness for the future. Many feel their anxiety cannot be alleviated without fixing the root problem; however, we can utilise various tools and strategies to manage it. By focusing on smaller steps within oneself, the bigger problem can be more effectively approached with strength and resilience.

'Finding Control' is a publication split into two sides: A and B. Side A explores an overwhelming anxious experience and the global climate crisis which triggers it. Inserted contextual spreads within the book represent a smaller focus in front of an overarching and unavoidable problem. As the pages are turned, a narrative emerges through the desaturation of colour and progressively incomprehensible imagery. At its peak, the reader is instructed to close and flip the book to physically break out of the cognitive distortions of eco-anxiety. Side B reveals a refreshed perspective with tools, information, and strategies on how the individual can discover a sense of control—Yellow, a colour of hope, is slowly reintroduced.

The reader is left in the centre of the book—demonstrating that it's inevitable to fall back into the middle of an anxious thinking pattern. However, by understanding these newly learnt strategies, the experience will never be the same. By flipping back through Side A at this orientation, positive elements are uncovered as eco-anxiety is revisited from a place of improved clarity.

Mediums such as paint, oil pastel, collage, and digital illustration are combined to visualise the complicated and distressing reality of young adults. The analogue approach to the project attempts to capture rawness and authenticity. With the exposed section-sewn binding reflecting the vulnerability of these necessary mental health discussions, the publication intends to offer clear, small-scale strategies while being a relatable body of work.

Power is not a fixed entity that one simply possesses or lacks; instead, it is a dynamic force that can be seized or left behind. The key is to catch ourselves in these patterns, reflect on the breadth of our capabilities and act. By taking that first step towards positive change, we can begin to find control.