“120 MPH” – Thrill Seeking Veterans Highlighted in New GlassBook Project Exhibit

“120 MPH” – Thrill Seeking Veterans Highlighted in New GlassBook Project Exhibit University Students and Veterans Collaborate to Bring Understanding to Adrenalin Pumping Behavior
By: Witness Justice & the GlassBook Project
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Thrill Seeking
GlassBook Project
Nick Kline
Helga Luest
Mental Health

• Veteran
• Mental health
• Behavioral health

Newark - New Jersey - US

March 11, 2011 - PRLog -- Newark, NJ – The GlassBook Project unveiled a new collection of glass books today: “120 MPH – thrill seeking after combat.  This collection focuses on the impact that combat stress and trauma has on American veterans by looking at thrill seeking and risky behavior (i.e. speeding, promiscuity, extreme sports, etc.) as a response to trauma.  Sometimes done as a means to “feel something,” such as the rush of adrenaline, these behaviors serve a purpose, yet loved ones at home may not understand their role in coping with combat stress and trauma and the difficulties experienced in reintegration.  The new “120 MPH – thrill seeking after combat” resin book collection was achieved by students at Rutgers University-Newark, Department of Art, Culture and Media, under the instruction of Artist Keary Rosen.  The collection title “120 MPH” was selected to represent how some returning veterans are reportedly driving 120 MPH on motorcycles without helmets.  

Unlike previous collections from the GlassBook Project, these books are made of Polyurethane resin, a material that is often used in simulation, amour and has unbreakable qualities – providing more physical and sculptural opportunities.  The material was chosen for this topic because of the inherent characteristics and potential that paralleled the subject, (because of its resilience, potential uniformity that can come from a duplicating process, quality of memory that is embedded in the molds, and that, in the end, the works are simulations).  The students began by selecting an object that they thought appropriately represented their informed take from veterans and the sometimes risky things they would do after reintegration. A silicone mold was then produced for each student, done to the specific nature of their concept. Polyurethane resin was then used in a variety of ways to make castings of their object, after which the students assembled the “book” that is now part of the collection.

The beauty of this process was that students were able to make precise duplicates,” commented Artist Keary Rosen, who instructed the class.  “I'm incredibly proud of the works the students were able to produce in response to the topic. I feel these art objects are profound and express a level of sincerity that speaks to their dedication, not just to the process of making, but also to the subjects that they chose to explore."

“Today, when we unveiled the collection, one veteran commented on a student’s book “she really got it.  All of these crazy activities that we do… all stemming from this one experience,” it’s moments like this that reveal why we do this Project.  Students took time to get into a different mindset, and they reflect back an abstract interpretation of complex experiences,” commented Artist Nick Kline.  “Collaborating with Keary Rosen, the students, veterans and others has been challenging and exhausting, but without that process the books and experience would not have been interesting or successful in connecting with veterans, I think all the participants are so grateful and stimulated by each others efforts.”

“Although I have read about soldiers in works of literature and heard about PTSD in TV, movies, and the news, being a civilian, I never felt a strong emotional connection to these issues.” commented Melissa Adamo, one of the student participants in the GlassBook Project and a MFA Creative Writing major at Rutgers University-Newark.  “Before this project, PTSD was something that some soldiers dealt with on a very serious level; I didn't realize that all soldiers have to figure out how to transition from war to home. Because of this course, I have a better understanding of the books and movies I thought I understood so well prior. Most importantly, I understand the soldiers in my own life.”

Jose Lopez, an enrichment officer for the Rutgers Student Veteran Organization and an Air Force OIF veteran reflected “It amazed me to see the students take the post-war experience of me and my fellow veterans and transform it into an abstract form of beautiful art.  As a psychology major, I deeply appreciate the effort people make to empathize and connect with those who have experienced traumatic events.  The GlassBook Project touched me and the veteran community at Rutgers-Newark in a very deep and profound way.”

The GlassBook Project is a conceptual creation of Artist Nick Kline, done in collaboration with project partner Witness Justice, and other artists, writers, survivors, students and community organizations.  In the GlassBook Project, survivors (in this case, veterans) meet with students to share their trauma experience and explain how certain behaviors helped them cope – this discussion followed trauma education conducted by Helga Luest, Witness Justice President and CEO.  These behaviors (frequently labeled as “bad behavior” or symptoms of mental or other illness) are often a means of survival and resilience.  Through the educational experience, students are guided to shift perspective from "What's wrong with you?" to "What happened to you?" and away from victim blaming, making books that reflect the survivor's point of view.  The books made of glass have been exhibited all over the United States including Paramount Theater in Hollywood and the Museum of American Glass.  The award-winning GlassBook Project has been hailed as one of the top mental health innovations in the country, as it facilitates meaningful social change for survivors and build community understanding of the nature and impact of trauma.  

Previous collections of the GlassBook Project can be viewed at www.GlassBookProject.org.  The GlassBook Project Facebook page offers the most up-to-date images and happenings with the project: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=83324477164.

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Witness Justice is a national nonprofit organization providing advocacy and support for survivors of violence and trauma.
Email:***@witnessjustice.org Email Verified
Tags:Veteran, Combat, Thrill Seeking, Trauma, Ptsd, Art, GlassBook Project, Nick Kline, Helga Luest, Military, Mental Health
Industry:Veteran, Mental health, Behavioral health
Location:Newark - New Jersey - United States

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