by Gustav Nilsonne, MD, PhD
The 14th session of the OuUnPo art festival on the theme the “fugue" has been concluded. A fugue in psychiatry is a state of dissociation, often with amnesia. A series of performances and events have investigated the fugue from different perspectives. Interaction between art and science has been an important theme. As an observer with a background in science, I have had the opportunity to reflect on the artworks and discussions during the session.
What is it like to have a psychotic episode? One early change, it seems, is that some sensory stimuli begin to take on new meaning. Sounds and smells that are usually quite trivial begin to acquire greater importance. This can be confusing and scary. Elaborate delusions can follow as patients try to make sense of their experience. For instance, in order to explain unusual smells, patients may decide that someone must be pumping gas into their living space.