Dan - Visual Artist Navigates Misophonia With Creativity

S7 E21 - 1/3/2024
This episode features a conversation with Dan, a visual artist from Glasgow, Scotland, who discusses his experiences with misophonia, a condition he became aware of relatively recently. Dan shares insights on coping mechanisms, such as using earplugs and coconut oil for squeaky doors, and discusses the significance of control and understanding from others in managing misophonia. He highlights his work as a visual artist, connecting his creative process with managing misophonia, and mentions his involvement with the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival. The conversation covers Dan's journey of becoming more aware and informed about misophonia, its impacts on his daily life and relationships, and how conversations about misophonia can help spread awareness and understanding. The episode also touches on broader themes like the intersection of art and mental health, and the potential for creative practices to facilitate coping with misophonia.


Adeel [0:01]: Welcome to the Misophonia Podcast, this is Season 7, Episode 21. My name's Adeel Ahmad, and I have Misophonia. This week I'm talking to Dan, a visual artist based in Glasgow, Scotland, who works with projected visuals for live performances and installations. Dan's miso actually is a relatively new issue for him, rather than having started at a young age. We talk about coping methods, anger management, getting support from family and friends, and the role of art in mental health. I've got a link to Dan's website in the show notes. Definitely check it out. After the show, please let me know what you think. You can reach out by email at hello at misophoniapodcast.com or hit me up on Instagram or Facebook at Misophonia Podcast. Please head over, leave a quick review or rating wherever you listen to the show, whether it's Apple Podcasts or Spotify. It really helps us get driven up in their algorithms and reach more listeners. A few of my usual announcements. Thanks for the incredible ongoing support of our Patreon supporters. If you feel like contributing, you can read all about the various levels at patreon.com slash misophonia podcast. And I want to mention the self-help book Sounds Like Misophonia, which was just released in November, written by Dr. Jane Gregory and I, is available now everywhere around the world, online and in stores. Very excited to see that out there. This episode is also sponsored by the personal journaling app that I developed called Basil, B-A-S-A-L. Bazel provides AI-powered insights into your journal entries and guides you with new writing prompts based on those insights. And you can explore different therapy approaches and modalities. It's available on iOS and Android. Check the show notes or go to hellobazel.com. All right, now here's my conversation with Dan. Dan, welcome to the podcast. Good to have you here.

Dan [2:02]: Yeah, lovely to be here. Thanks very much.

Adeel [2:05]: Of course. Yeah, do you want to tell the audience kind of where you're located?

Dan [2:09]: Yeah, I am in Glasgow in Scotland. Although I grew up in Yorkshire in the north of England. So my voice, my accent isn't typically Scottish.

Adeel [2:23]: No worries, no worries. I wasn't able to tell this time. So yeah, I do want to maybe talk a little bit about what you do over there.

Dan [2:34]: yeah i well moved here to scotland about 14 years ago to study and i was studying at the art school um an artist um and i've predominantly worked in art spaces as a visual artist and periphery roles um as well as more recently in the realm of education a little bit as well so And it's a really good place for that. I'm glad to be here in Scotland.

Adeel [3:06]: That was great. Yeah. Yeah. And we were introduced through Ross, who was on the podcast some time ago. Yeah. I guess when this goes out, well, yeah, he was on like early fall 2023. You know, that's great. So, you know, he's a composer. You're a visual artist. Yeah. And he mentioned that, you know, obviously you have in Siphonia. Yeah. I'm always interested in creative people with Misophonia. I guess maybe do you want to set the landscape as to what's going on with you these days? How is Misophonia affecting your life?

Dan [3:39]: yeah thanks and great nod uh ross is indeed a great composer uh true scotsman uh a true friend as well so um yeah it was nice that i was introduced to the podcast through him but also he uh mentioned um about our conversations having been helpful uh learning around misophonia so I'm really glad to have the chance to talk a little bit about misophonia as I find it's affecting me daily now, but in a way that I feel a lot more aware than I have been and I'm really benefiting from that awareness. I felt having the chance to discuss it with you in this format might be a useful way to share with people that I love and I care about in my life that are also affected by how misophonia affects me.

Adeel [4:43]: yeah that's that's exactly the point of the podcast and that's great that if it can kind of these conversations can kind of help whenever these conversations help other people it's great so is it usually um so i know for i know for for us it's a lot i remember uh well there's a lot of uh pigeon action in scotland the seagulls the seagulls or seagulls seagulls right right um so yeah i mean daily life for you is it uh is that kind of environmental stuff at home um you're an artist i'm always curious kind of like are you affected at work or you know when you're trying to create art

Dan [5:22]: Yeah, it's a really interesting place. Where do I start from? Because I feel like I'm joining a very well-informed conversation that you've built through podcasts. But it's useful to try and think, how is it to describe misophonia to somebody who's never heard the word before? And also to caveat that I'm describing my experience of it. Yeah. it's for me i have gone through different stages referring to it as a sound sensitivity and at times it's most useful to have just the very uh top level what how you might describe to somebody that um being sensitive to sound you'd like to make a change or excuse yourself for acting in a way that they wouldn't expect And then it's also been a chance to reflect on a journey for me. I'd highlight over the last four or five years in which I've been a lot more aware. And then over the last four or five months, I felt like I've become more informed as well. So benefiting from that, yeah, that development.

Adeel [6:41]: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I guess maybe kind of like also going back to, maybe we can go chronologically, I'm kind of curious, where did things start for you? Was it at home? Yeah.

Dan [6:54]: I suppose, well, as I said, over the last sort of four or five years, but... I would say that time frame around four years ago just prior to the pandemic as well I became very aware of sensitivity with sound and built from that actually a bit of a surprise I looked back in my Evernotes app which I record all sorts of notes responses and I found an earlier mention that I had written down the word misdemeanor in 2017 so that was interesting for me in two ways one that I perhaps had dabbled with it but Also, whether I'd forgotten it intentionally or been a bit too busy to give it the attention at the time.

Adeel [7:47]: Also, it really is pretty recent for me. I must have brain farted and just not processed that because I just assume it starts so early for everyone. So going back to childhood, you really don't have any memories of such a thing?

Dan [8:04]: Well, I think, as I say, over the last four or five months, I'm thinking a lot more, how do I relate to accounts that people share of childhood trauma? And I'd say I had a relatively privileged and happy childhood. I would allow, though, that it was often turbulent at times. Growing up in Yorkshire with my mum and my dad and one sister, And I feel it's pretty safe to share in this context that we went through a lot of challenges. It was more for me early teens. And that was around a time when my mum was struggling a lot with depression and living with that. And also my sister was going through a bit of a whirlwind teenage period. It wasn't uncommon as well through that time for my parents or family members to argue. So there were things that I was hiding from. And I think I realized in retrospect that how much that conditioned me as a person to whether it was directly towards me or sound sensitivity, but it definitely conditioned me to be somebody who tries to avoid some conflict or to make sure I'm really hesitant to ask of anybody, interrupt or change their habits. And that where you ask about the earlier memories, that definitely feels relevant, but without feeling like I've pieced it all together yet.

Adeel [9:49]: Right. Yeah. Yeah, you kind of describe like a walking on eggshells kind of situation maybe sometimes.

Dan [9:56]: Yeah, very much so, which is a great point, Adeel, but also it's regrettable that I found in later life that my misophonia has, that's been a consequence that other people have felt like they're a bit on eggshells around me because, I guess to tie it together where I mentioned this first note that I took of misophonia it was during a period where I'd had quite a lot of change in my life and I went through CBT which was I initiated it really because I wanted to address challenges I had in my temper And I think at that time, if I took a note of misophonia, I was starting to realize there was lots of factors that might cause me to struggle with my temper. And although I was never violent in any way, I was a lot more at that time. conflict or what do I mean willing to argue and I suppose I'd normalised that but the catalysts for it I was wondering how much it was to do with other factors stress and challenges but then living circumstances and sound unreflection were quite a big factor there

Adeel [11:23]: uh yeah that's interesting okay um yeah obviously like you know feelings of anger are kind of a big deal for us and uh it makes sense that yeah if you well actually um did you know what misophonia was as a term around that time when you went in for um to get you know cbt I don't think I did.

Dan [11:44]: And I felt like three years on from that, when I first started to use the term, that it was brand new to me. So it was a bit of a surprise that I realized I did take a note of it. I maybe just didn't fully understand what it was. And I suppose that brings us on to something that would feel helpful to share is the journey that a lot of people, I assume, with misophonia go through of different ways of describing it. And I think initially I would use comparisons that are helpful in the short term, but actually problematic in the long term as we'd say it's relating the outcome would be to challenges with temper but also um early comparisons i would make with ocd and that was helpful in the initial term to okay i am for friends and family to understand what sort of condition or um

Adeel [12:53]: yeah what misophonia might be to some degree but yeah in the longer term it causes a bit of misunderstanding as well yeah yeah like it definitely gets roped into OCD probably because the definition of OCD is usually kind of misunderstood OCD is kind of intrusive thoughts when you're not when nothing's really happening necessarily but misophonia is a response to something But yeah, it totally makes sense. And it gets further confused because the treatments are so different. Exposure therapy is actually part of OCD treatment, and obviously we wouldn't want to go there for misophonia. But another thing you mentioned is, yeah, before, when we don't know what misophonia is, we... usually are labeled as by other people, but also ourselves as just kind of irritable, angry people. And, you know, I could see how that could have been a factor for you to maybe seek some professional help for just kind of like a blanket temper kind of issue in your management. Yeah.

Dan [14:02]: Yeah, I think one thing that I also would add that I've learned in experience is that a lot of other factors affect how sensitive I am with misophonia. Or by that I mean if I am at a stressful period in my life, then my misophonia would be a lot more present and I would be a lot more sensitive. And so, yeah, that then brings the challenge of People trying to understand why one situation will be very hard and then months later it's okay, that same situation. Yeah, it's a challenge to try and explain that, but it helps lead me towards some of the approaches to overcoming. And it's been amazing listening to a lot of other guests on the podcast regularly referring to living situation and moving. And I think for me, a key catalyst around recognizing that I have an unusual level of sensitivity was a house move and i could identify how the i had a few flatmates this is going back about four years ago in glasgow just before the pandemic and there were certain things that i found really triggering that um felt quite normal quite understandable and that was uh flatmate playing the banjo at six in the morning or um slamming doors late at night and um yeah these sorts of intrusions but then there were other other things that were really so sensitive to that felt very normal and i recognise that reaction. And yeah, maybe it's helpful to try and articulate what a reaction is for anybody who hasn't felt that. From my perspective, uttering a reaction with misophonia is a sense of panic, seems an appropriate word. Another thing about my living situation right now is that I am an Airbnb host and I am living with a situation of a spare room and guests coming regularly. Right now, I meant to caveat at the start that there were some guests arriving who have just arrived and quite possibly them arriving logging onto the wi-fi has given us a little trick but also it's it's a great example of the sort of circumstances in things changing uh maybe metaphorically you know that yeah it starts to interfere with the the connection but yeah

Adeel [17:03]: Oh, that's interesting, yeah. Yeah, interesting metaphor there. Yeah, maybe actually I was going to back up to the reasons you... Yeah, I mean, the reasons you went to therapy again were kind of for anger management. Am I... Is it safe to say, like, you know... you know, it was, you know, not to get maybe too much into family stuff, but like you were, you were like loved ones kind of being kind of the subject of some of your, your, uh, some, some incidents that kind of led you to, to seek help.

Dan [17:36]: Yeah, at the time I was living with somebody very briefly and I was quite argumentative and I feel that I recognised that I had normalised that as a normal work output and a normal rhythm and it was really good to seek out help to change that and really empowering to do that over a period of time and recognise that I went over a year or so from somebody who felt that conflict was normal to somebody who was adverse very much, irritated friends and like-partners that I wouldn't argue. But it's very encouraging because I felt a recognition of, yes, you're upbringing conditions you a lot, but there is... potential to overcome it and that gives me hope in uh addressing misophonia that while it may have been caused by a lot of events in the past it is something that i might be able to work with um and in this example talking and reframing it mentally i think was a real help um yeah did you find that um being artists that um you know finishing pieces of work or even even you know

Adeel [18:59]: the process of creating art would kind of maybe help you calm down or at least kind of like make you less sensitive because I don't know when I do stuff like that I definitely feel a sense of I don't know holistic calm or something where I can kind of like manage through the next you know short period of time and I just kind of like the amplitude of the triggers isn't as great I'm just curious if art has been kind of a help for you

Dan [19:28]: Yeah, definitely. And having time where it can get stuck into a project and then you mentioned a sort of sense of completion is euphoric and it does feel like a process and circumstances in which I am able to revel in an environment I create and control and have often worked in different circumstances often in the evening and slowly out the way so that I could enhance that lack of distraction interruption and yeah really enjoy having that practice.

Adeel [20:13]: Maybe let's talk about kind of your day-to-day coping mechanisms. Earplugs, avoidance, kind of curious, kind of like how you muddle through the day.

Dan [20:23]: Yeah, certainly. So initially, well, I suppose the first key coping mechanism for me was getting some AirPods. And to give you a bit of context, where I found misophonia hardest in my life was during the pandemic and I had quite a comical situation that I within a few weeks went to live with my oldest friend Lewis and it was really well intended that we would live together give each other a bit of support and um we didn't know as they did how long we would be locked down and um the bigger picture but I was working at the time, working remotely on computer. That was the first time I stepped into it outside of art in education. So it was quite a desk-based daily routine, which in some ways was welcome and everything else was fluid in the pandemic. But this lesson was making, recording an album as a musician. and just the common scenario of the two of us in the same house me trying to focus on the challenging work i was building a chatbot at the time and needing needing all the headspace and to control the sound well through the wall my friends recording the same riff again and again and singing them um that forced me to quickly learn and find good coping mechanisms and it was a combination of controlling sound in the immediate i got some airpods the airpods pro were a total game changer for me getting noise cancellation and it was funny i remember going i ordered them to collect on my birthday and i was sat outside um near the shop i would collect them for and i saw a friend walking past across the grass and i shouted um and they totally ignored me but i realized they had the airports in as well I was like, oh, this is a good sign. I'm getting a chance to condition or control the world a little. And I think that the best investment for me, and I haven't been without them much since, there was a couple of memorable occasions without them. um yeah combining that with some other similar ear plugs and i actually over the last few months have felt like i really appreciate having a gradient of alternatively having um The flare model of earpods, which are able to just soften, take the top and bottom off a lot of sounds. And then loop, which are earpods that adjust to really help to different levels blocking out sound. And on that initial level, I think that's quite fundamental for me in coping mechanisms.

Adeel [23:48]: But then that's... So for you, yeah, go on.

Unknown Speaker [23:51]: Thank you.

Dan [23:51]: Yeah, well, just thinking that linked with that is I use the AirPods a lot to engage with the Calm app, which is, are you familiar with the Calm app at all?

Adeel [24:03]: No.

Dan [24:05]: I'd say it collects maybe a main series supporting meditation as a practice, but also I love it supporting nap.

Adeel [24:15]: Oh, Calm? Yeah. Kind of like Headspace. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm familiar with that. Yeah, for sure.

Dan [24:21]: Brilliant. And well, from that, supporting controlling sound while sleeping as well. And a really helpful catalyst from that was that they host not quite podcasts, but they call it masterclasses. One of them which was focused on a book or an overview of a book which was called The Depression Cure. But that book was also introducing a lifestyle or anti-depressive lifestyle. And it's that it's an approach that whether you're going through a period of challenged mental health or depression in your life or not, these... elements that it highlights about your lifestyle, working on them will really help you in any circumstance. And I found that really did work for me, particularly in that point, we're talking about controlling the periphery context, minimizing the times in my life where I did feel hyper or have felt hypersensitive with me.

Adeel [25:29]: Yeah, so do you want to talk a little bit about, you said something about controlling the periphery sounds. Are there any kind of techniques or mind framing that are particularly helpful?

Dan [25:42]: Well, I think for me in run directly controlling the sounds, but I think controlling the other, like certain key elements of your life, recognizing that you're getting enough sleep, eating well, light exposure, diet, social contact. And I think these things do help. And I suppose to summarize it, it's about... realizing a certain element of routine really helps me feel comfortable, particularly a morning routine. I love to get up, do a bit of yoga, and get a cup of Yorkshire tea. And if I can do that in peace, then my tolerance for whatever... sounds the day is going to throw at me is uh like you know full strength but if i get interrupted in that initial period then i'm hypersensitive it's a real challenge yeah yeah yeah i know i can totally relate to that um

Adeel [26:42]: And have you, I guess, I mean, have you met any other people with Misophonia? I know you're relatively new to the community. Other than Ross, I guess.

Dan [26:52]: Yeah, it's been great talking to Ross in person. really grateful to have met a few other people my partner at the moment is somebody who relates to having a misophonia which is really wonderful how considerate they are and I also had a real pleasant surprise that I mentioned I am an Airbnb host, which for all having the shared accommodation in the past has been very challenging. Airbnb brings a degree more predictability and control and it shortens whatever condition that another person might bring to the sound to generally a much shorter period of days, a week or so. So the surprise that came out of that was that an Airbnb guest who had also been on your show, Laurel Thompson, who was a little while ago.

Adeel [28:00]: Yeah, yeah, it was. Right, right.

Dan [28:04]: She was really great to talk to as we got chatting while she was the guest. And she produced this artwork about space phonia as well.

Adeel [28:15]: So that's great. Yeah, I think I've met her. I think that's the one I've met at one of the misophonia conventions back in person, back in the day. That's, wow, what a coincidence. That's great.

Dan [28:26]: It was a really good one that steered me on to listening to her podcast and then her conversation with you. It was eye-opening in seeing how, well, I've talked a little bit about finding other forms of therapy that aren't directly towards misophonia actually helped me with my journey on misophia. had some experiences and I've enjoyed hearing other people talk about more direct approach in therapy and that then was quite heartening that there's some professional direct support out there but also Yes, also quite inspiring hearing her talk about how it influenced her creativity and then some ideas she talked about in the therapy discussing colours of sounds, which is new to me, but a little bit of chat with Ross since I've definitely seen it, I want to explore more.

Adeel [29:29]: Yeah, like synesthesia, like seeing, or is it, yeah, really related to that, I guess, seeing colours, or thinking of colours, what do you think it sounds?

Dan [29:41]: When I've heard people start to talk about, oh, white noise is helpful, or I find brown noise challenging, or yellow noise is different circumstance, and I am really fascinated by that, I suppose. In my creative practice over the last decade, I've steered a lot towards working with projection and making visuals for musicians. So I'm really interested in how I can respond to sound. with project a projector and and projecting video in that context um interested then to get into maybe the theory of it to some degree and yeah some of the conversation there yeah that'd be super interesting um i mean actually speaking of conversation did uh i'm just curious kind of like how this is what it came up with with laurel like was that uh

Adeel [30:41]: Were you both trying to avoid making sound to something or did she just have a t-shirt or something?

Dan [30:50]: I think what was really heartening was it was a real genuine kind of organic comment of I think, you know, there was some joke about sound sensitivity and Laurel was traveling with a friend who was just an amazing example of friendship and support in that she didn't. to have misophonia herself, but she was really aware, willing to make changes and make jokes about it and I think be both, yeah, sympathetic and a super friend. And it was really heartening to then, I think, a really natural conversation came up briefly of saying how, oh, I might have asked, have you heard of misophonia? And they were personally laughing because it's a big part of their life. It felt like that sort of situation, yeah.

Adeel [31:41]: That's super cool. That's super cool. So maybe about your family members, do you, or friends, like, have you noticed, you know, even non-family members, but people close to you, has it, you know, created any kind of rifts or wedges in relationships and kind of maybe, I don't know, pushed you apart? Yeah, I think...

Dan [32:06]: I think it was particularly hard in the situation with my friend living with Lewis during the pandemic and he's really understanding. it's a helpful thing to explain how I'm sure a lot of people relate with misophonia. It's very hard to explain what you're going through at a time when you're feeling very stressed.

Adeel [32:31]: In the moment? Yeah. Yeah. It's the worst time to explain it, yeah.

Dan [32:37]: And so I feel like when you ask about examples of causing risk with friends and loved ones, then a lot of it has come from that initial frustration or inability to explain and that's probably what inspired me towards a conversation where I could try and articulate a little bit while I'm much calmer how I see a trigger and reaction but the patience of friends and family members has been really happening in time. I think following a good nine, I think seven, eight, nine months living with Lewis, I was really needing a break. I was finding I was quite stressed all the time, expecting something to trigger me and it was good for him to have a break. I went to spend a few weeks with my parents, which, having not lived with them for a long time, a decade or so, I knew it was potentially going to be more triggering, more challenging, going into the house where I'd grown up and knowing that they were also nine months into a pandemic. So it was on one level just trying to be safe about any COVID circumstances, but I remember sitting with them and trying to, for the first time, say, so I know it's been really normal that I'll come and stay for a few days or a few weeks, but... This time, there's a new element. It's really present. And initially, using these sort of terms of sound sensitivity and a bit like OCD, and bless my parents with, you know, all so well intended, they were apologizing for things being... physically a bit untidy or certain other elements and I had to try and find calmer ways to say these sorts of points like how I am struggling with sound coming through the walls and I'm needing to control a little bit more environment and have some more boundaries and have the morning routine and It's been a few years since and I've tried to take steps forward to explaining to them how much misophonia affects me because I would say it is on a daily, it informs my daily routine. And while I feel quite happy to have found ways of coping with it, it definitely has limited some times that I've spent with friends and family members as I've become more aware and try and avoid being in any stressful situations, both for me but also for them. I don't like being somebody who is triggered, shutting down a little bit. And it's really been the case of taking it little steps at a time. So the first time that I fell, I'm going to wear earplugs and we'll eat in the same room. But it's going to be, for me, at arm's length. I suppose having realised that a lot of the triggers that I have with misphoning are quite common for other people, I'm interested in working out how is a healthy way of sharing that or explaining that. I don't think there's necessarily a fast track, but I do think that gaining some awareness, we could start to have a wider awareness that would really help people, especially in a family dynamic.

Adeel [36:33]: Yeah, no, absolutely. Did you say you had siblings as well? I have one sister.

Dan [36:38]: Okay. Yeah, we grew up together, but we haven't lived together for a very long time as well. I've been in Scotland for the last 14 years. She's often been abroad as well. Yeah.

Adeel [36:53]: but i was she like uh i'm curious kind of like how that relationship was but did she know about your misophony oh well i mean i mean you didn't really have much growing up but like uh you know i don't know does she doesn't sound like she has misophonia but i'm curious kind of what she thinks uh about about all this

Dan [37:11]: we have have been close recently and talked and she's really good listener and good at understanding and i think that he can relate in different elements that he knows it's important to be heard and i think Well, she hasn't ever said that she relates directly. It's having his phone yet. I think she's got the understanding of, I know what environment we grew up in and what was great about it and what was challenging and being just, I suppose the only other person that can fully relate to, to some of that. Um, But yeah, the way that we've talked, it's been really helpful. And to what degree I need them to understand. For my sister, I feel a little bit less than my parents because I rarely sort of go to stay with her. But yeah, it's helpful.

Adeel [38:15]: Yeah. And I'm curious, yeah, you're, you're talking about, um, yeah, you know, wanting to, uh, you know, the need, the need for more awareness, um, about Misophonia to help in following dynamics and beyond. Actually, I'm curious, kind of like, uh, have you thought about, um, I don't know, I don't know where, what kind of projects you're working on now. I'm just curious if you've thought about how, you know, different ways to incorporate Misophonia into artwork or, or use art as a way to, uh, teach the world or teach a little about misophonia or what I'm actually more interested in is teaching misophones more about the complexity of it or just how we're not alone the different layers the different emotional layers that we're all aware of But most of the people, it takes, you know, it's much harder to explain to them. Yeah, I'm just curious if you've thought about how to use art to kind of like express misophonia.

Dan [39:16]: Yeah, I'm really interested in my main passion being working with moving image and film. And I recognize earlier this year you were sharing that there was a film made, so I'm really interested to see that and to see other people's expressions.

Adeel [39:32]: There's been a number of short films, yeah. I don't know. I think you're following my Instagram, but there's been a puppet short film. There's been... There's one from Iran, which had no words, but it's more kind of like a musical. It's kind of really interesting. There's one out of Canada that's in a bunch of film festivals. And there's more being made, actually. It's interesting. But, yeah. Yeah.

Dan [40:02]: big advocate of the power of film to create space for people to reflect and connect and I think for me that's an aspiration I'm making short film and that's hinting more at our relationship with technology and how that affects our mental health, but I try over time to directly address misophonia. I think that's in the context of short film, screen based. But also I'm fascinated having a practice that a lot of my work has been events and live shows and being responsive to sound in the visual way. And I think that there's something quite exciting to explore there, like the potential of how we put... in our human nature we synchronize a lot of what we see and i'm thinking how one of my favorite music videos is the chemical brothers star guitar it's well worth seeing it's a vision out of a train traveling through the countryside and whatever you hear is represented by something you see for every um symbol there's a lamppost for example and yeah the horizon reflects like uh the crescendos and i think where i've stood over the last few years is more to working in that less music videos directly but vjing so the live responses and responses to sound and um really excited to build on that and to create environments i think that could also visualize how it feels sometimes to have misophonia as being triggered for me it's not necessarily experience that is cognitive it seems something a lot more reactive it's absolutely about yeah the sense of a trigger cutting straight through your mind and triggering your fight and flight and I think that live responsive element in BJ context is a way to start communicating that as well

Adeel [42:19]: yeah no you're right it seems to be more connected to that the older reptilian limbic system more of a fear response um Yeah, that's very interesting. And yeah, something else you said about... I definitely want to check out that video. I don't know if I've seen a Chemical Brothers video since Block Rockin' Beats, but I should definitely check that new one out. Because I've been reading and thinking a lot about how it seems like we're less connected to our senses organically, and whether that has some... through technology and and and marketing and and we're you know we're kind of like we're very visual society and um and uh you know it's you know like kind of like how we have uh you know highly processed food or the the the stimulation that we receive is tends to a lot of times to be very kind of pre-packaged and processed I don't know. I don't have any scientific basis for this, but maybe it's more of a metaphorical or artistic thing. But I wonder if the less time we spend organically engaging with our senses, if that is somehow messing with our ability to filter sounds as danger or not.

Dan [43:31]: Yeah, I think that experiences that were to the contrary support that suggestion. So I had an experience of one month being offline. It was an artist residency and I found that, among other bonuses, the... benefits for my sleep and for my focus when I did want to work but also I was a lot less sensitive and I do directly see where overstimulation can lead me to being a lot more triggered and yeah linking the two as well yeah overstimulation yeah actually that's a good idea I think people talk about like

Adeel [44:23]: um internet fasts but uh but yeah i think i think there's i finally actually see some merit in that um to maybe to maybe do something and it's not just i don't think it's just over stimulation i think it's just the type of stimulation that we get is kind of like you know it's like fast food so is that really healthy for our senses actually do you want to talk about some of the art that you do now i i think i i was watching some interviews of of and you know you mentioned about how um you're interested in the intersection of uh i think tech and how especially modern tech um and how kind of the effects are thinking and information do you want to talk about kind of what you do and did not miss even related to misophonia

Dan [45:04]: Well, yeah, thanks. I studied art and philosophy and the philosophy side of it. I got really fascinated by thinking about technology. And it feels like we're living through such a significant time. I'm 34 now and I've lived through what feels like a real revolution. And with that, we'll have someone privileged, but also maybe a sense of responsibility to evaluate how the change in technology our field of vision, our field of connectedness, our field of empathy is affecting us as people and maybe as a generation we have a chance to compare that to a time before in a way that won't be possible for future younger generations. So I felt really driven to work with technology as well, because where previously I loved painting, but that wasn't the right language. So that's what drew me towards working with projection. and moving image because that felt the right language to talk about technology and our relationships though at the moment i have combined doing a lot of visuals for live musicians and also video for releases not in the live context but the project I've been working on for the longest is called navigating technologies and it is going to be a film exploring how a metaphor of how we learn to navigate the ocean as that was a challenging new space that had a lot of potential but also a lot of a lot of danger for how we learn to navigate online space. And I'm going to be really bringing that together over the coming months. Yeah, looking forward to sharing it and the activities later this year and then building on it from there into maybe something that we'll work in a short film festival context next year. um yeah i don't directly see that relating to misophonia as much as uh definitely a sense of responsibility that art can really help to create space to reflect on how we see the world and how it affects us so yeah with work uh usually shown is if it's projections obviously it's some usually like um in an installation somewhere is that you do um

Adeel [47:41]: display around Glasgow or around the UK.

Dan [47:45]: been fortunate over the last decade to show in lots of different places countries at the moment it will be as i say the next next project will be in an art gallery pulled down lantern up in uh doorway which is very far north remote island but um you know i think you went quite i think you went quite again just after you said you've been like getting shown a lot of different places and uh you're probably listing countries but we didn't hear it you list those places i want to i want to hear all those uh all those places Well, I've been very fortunate to show work over the last decade in and around different places in Scotland and abroad in film festival context. But the next project will be over in the activities, very far north island, remote island in Scotland. And in the past, it's been great to be showing around Scotland or film festivals in England, north of England. Yeah, looking forward to bringing something that is even more accessible. I'm really excited and will pursue the live experience, but also in this day and age where we can connect people best in or widest is online as well. So yeah, we'll continue to share work and film in that context in future.

Adeel [49:09]: Yeah, very cool. Okay. And actually, yeah, that brings me, that makes me think of another question. When you're doing shows live, do you ever get triggered? Like, you know, you're trying to, I guess your projections are probably kind of stationary. I'm just curious if you're having to like, you know, set up your work and then turn it on and then you have to be there and then people are just kind of like coughing.

Dan [49:35]: It's funny, thinking about doing visuals for performances, then I am using software and the terminology is triggers. So I'm setting up a series of triggers, which when certain things happen, and the lights respond the video response the projector response but um yeah just playing there with the technology because for me i think when i get to share work live i feel a lot less sensitive. I feel really excited and really capable and because I'm bringing a degree of control into what the response is to a sound, then that feels really comfortable and that's almost a clue for me of part of the journey ahead. How to feel like I can live with Miss Svenja in an even more comfortable way would be creating circumstances where i can control the responses more and and that's everything from um having the coping mechanisms myself that i can practically put in earplugs or i'm laughing at a new coping strategy that you've reminded me of here um I'm a big fan of coconut oil. Okay, okay. It's for circumstances where you might find doors are squeaky or something. Yeah, I really recommend it.

Adeel [51:11]: I'm a WD-40 guy, but coconut oil seems much more sustainable.

Dan [51:16]: Yeah, it's white and it doesn't smell bad. Anyway, yeah, just didn't want to let that miss this conversation.

Adeel [51:25]: No, that's a great tip. I've heard coconut oil is a, yeah, that's a great tool because you can get it anywhere. Grocery store just went over.

Dan [51:33]: Yeah, it's great for cooking as well.

Adeel [51:35]: Pour it on your door, pour it on your hinges or your neighbor's hinges.

Dan [51:42]: Yeah, yeah, I'll start buying everyone it for Christmas. Yes. um but yeah that is um as a an action that i can do from phil dream and as well as the longer game stuff which is having the really valuable conversations that people feel aware and may be able to adjust if if they know how to and um yeah i think performing live just is an environment that almost represents that sort of future ideal scenario um You know, the examples of friends that have been so kind and understood when I've tried to explain this failure. And sometimes, I'm sure other people would relate to this, sometimes the act of the intention of helping, even if the action doesn't directly help. that's really heartening and really relaxes me and so I've been in a recent example my sister came to visit went with some friends to a cafe and where we they'd sat at a table next to the coffee machine and I found I knew that was gonna make it really hard for me to enjoy having lunch and relaxing and I said oh would you mind if we moved to this other table and We did. It was not a lot better at the other table, but I really felt grateful for the willingness to, and the staff as well, you know, trying to explain to somebody in a restaurant I'd like to move because of the sound. I must think that's a little bit unusual, but it's really heartening when they're like, okay, we can give a little bit, even if it didn't directly fix the problem. So I think me then thinking like, okay, I do have some slight control over these circumstances. That's a real help. So, yeah.

Adeel [53:25]: Yeah, that bit of control. But then what you said earlier, too, about how if somebody at least shows that they're trying, somehow that primitive reptilian fear-seeking part of our brain feels less threatened. You know what I mean? And so, yeah. I mean, a lot of research that needs to be done, but I feel like these are definitely common data points that we need to be looking at. Yeah. Well, Dan, we're about an hour into it. Yeah, this has been great. It's great learning about your past. It's funny that you met a past guest. I'm glad that even though you've learned about it late, that you're addressing it. Anything else you want to share with people about some insights you've had or thoughts?

Dan [54:23]: your journey well well it does feel real um privileged to join in the podcast and the conversation and we talked about some of the guests um your recent um discussion with the phd student in newcastle was really inspiring and i'd love to connect with um yeah and also maybe previous to that i guess that made me more aware of Is the term like kinesthesia? Sort of the digital triggers?

Adeel [54:54]: Oh, I didn't even talk about that. Yeah, mesokinesia, right.

Dan [54:57]: The little visual triggers. Yeah. These things, it's just been so helpful, this sensor community. I think... For me, I will try and build towards more awareness. I think the way that I can do that best is through creative practice, but I have recently been involved with the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival and I'm hoping to keep supporting them wherever I can. And I've seen some great films that they include. And so maybe, yeah, just putting that on people's radar and I'll hopefully share with them some work in the future. We can bring that to the misophonia community. And actually, yeah, just one last thought from... Yeah, yeah, please. ..preparing to have this conversation. I was fascinated because I was looking for... a gauge on awareness of misophonia and I googled the is misophonia in the Oxford English Dictionary but I abbreviated it to OED misophonia And it responded to me by saying, do you mean OCD misophonia? So I was fascinated with the way that even technology is kind of in some ways there, maybe exaggerating the misunderstanding. There's some potential that that could be helpful for some, but challenging for others.

Adeel [56:39]: yeah, that's kind of the, uh, the interesting situation we're at with that technology and kind of how we're, uh, uh, it seems like we're communicating with, um, communicating with it more and more, but, uh, it could lead us astray.

Dan [56:52]: Yeah.

Adeel [56:54]: Well, cool. I mean, Dan, this was super great. Yeah, I'd love to keep in touch and hear about the film festival and, you know, kind of any of the work you're doing. I'll definitely have links to you and your website in the show notes. I think you have YouTube links as well. But, yeah, this has been great. Thank you for coming on, and we'll definitely love to stay in touch about projects. yeah thank you so much adil i really appreciate your work and everybody else is sharing in the community so much appreciated thank you again dan uh great conversation and uh yeah very much looking forward to um see more of your work if you like this episode don't forget to leave a quick review or just hit the five stars wherever you listen to this podcast You can hit me up by email at hellomissiphoniapodcast.com or go to the website, missiphoniapodcast.com. It's even easier to send a message on Instagram at Missiphonia Podcast. Follow there on Facebook and on Twitter at X. It's a Missiphonia show. Support the show by visiting the Patreon at patreon.com slash missiphoniapodcast. The music, as always, is by Moby. And until next week, wishing you peace and quiet.

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