A Bipolar Journey
About my discovery of having bipolar disorder and learning how to manage it.
I wanted to make a game, mostly just to try something different. I’m not totally sure how I started thinking about making a game about my experiences with mental illness. But I do remember thinking it would be a good way to reach out to others dealing with a first time psychosis. I also had a crush on someone who wanted to work in mental health which is why I decided to go back to the game and add on the psych ward level.
I think that I have more capabilities in making a game than I realized. This second time around putting the game together I had an easier time almost.
I think my favourite part was the times I would give up and do it myself. Like the other patients in the psych ward all have one or two sentences they say when you bump into them, and originally I was gonna get like, five different people to record themselves saying things. But in the end I just recorded myself saying it and pitch shifted it in Premiere. I remember when I was a kid we were supposed to do this sand castle building thing with older kids but they were all pushy and not letting us help, so me and a couple friends built our own crappy castle. I think that sort of fed up “I can do it myself!” stayed with me for my career as a DIY Video artist, so it’s funny when it comes out again now even when lots of people are respectful and do want to help.
About Thirza Cuthand
Thirza Jean Cuthand was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1978, and grew up in Saskatoon. Since 1995 she has been making short experimental narrative videos and films about sexuality, madness, Queer identity and love, and Indigeneity, which have screened in festivals internationally, including the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, Mix Brasil Festival of Sexual Diversity in Sao Paolo, ImagineNATIVE in Toronto, Frameline in San Francisco, Outfest in Los Angeles, and Oberhausen International Short Film Festival. Her work has also exhibited at galleries including the Mendel in Saskatoon, The National Gallery in Ottawa, and The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She completed her BFA majoring in Film and Video at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2005, and her Masters of Arts in Media Production at Ryerson University in 2015. In 1999 she was an artist in residence at Videopool and Urban Shaman in Winnipeg, where she completed Through The Looking Glass. In 2012 she was an artist in residence at Villa K. Magdalena in Hamburg, Germany, where she completed Boi Oh Boi.
In 2015 she was commissioned by ImagineNATIVE to make 2 Spirit Introductory Special $19.99. She was also commissioned to make Thirza Cuthand Is An Indian Within The Meaning Of The Indian Act by VIMAF and Queer Arts Festival in 2017. In 2018 she was commissioned to make the video Reclamation by Cinema Politica in the Documentary Futurism Next 150 project. In the summer of 2016 they began working on a 2D video game called A Bipolar Journey based on her experience learning and dealing with her bipolar disorder. It showed at ImagineNATIVE and she is planning to further develop it. She has also written three feature screenplays and has performed at Live At The End Of The Century in Vancouver, Queer City Cinema’s Performatorium in Regina, and 7a*11d in Toronto. In 2017 she won the Hnatyshyn Foundation’s REVEAL Indigenous Art Award. She is a Whitney Biennial 2019 artist. She is a non-binary Butch boy who uses She/Her pronouns. She is of Plains Cree and Scots descent, a member of Little Pine First Nation, and currently resides in Toronto, Canada.