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'Scream Room' Gives The Flathead A Chance To Vent Some Emotions

Photos from artist Kylin O'Brien's Scream Room art installation.
Kylin O'Brien
Photos from artist Kylin O'Brien's Scream Room art installation.

Artist Kylin O’Brien wants you to scream.

"People really do need to get out some pent up emotion. And screaming is really effective. Sound waves can carry so much energy, and they're so potent," O'Brien says.

O’Brien recently debuted herinteractive art installation, called The Scream Room, in Brooklyn, New York, and she’s bringing it to the Flathead Valley this week at the request of a Kalispell friend who wants to see more contemporary and inclusive art in the Valley.

The Scream Room is about the size of a closet, lined with white, sound-absorbing walls. In Brooklyn, the words, “Together we will heal this inside and out,” wrap around the exhibit.

O’Brien recently talked about her work with Andrea Catherine of Kalispell, who hosts the Fearless Self-Love Podcast.

Andrea Catherine: This exhibit that you're bringing to Montana is all about bringing other people into this place of vulnerability. I'm looking at the images on your website right now of the pictures that you take of people after they scream and just like the joy and the relief and the exhilaration or the calm. You know, people have different expressions that come out of this.

Kylin O'Brien: It's about what's possible and what people might need. And then all that being said you know there are some people who want me in the space with them. There were some people who want privacy. Some people were comfortable having their photos taken, which I'm so grateful for. That's a generosity on their part, because then you get to see this amazing thing revealed, which I hadn't necessarily anticipated as well, in the project, which is relief that came after people screamed. I thought there would be, you know, like a release and some relief from that, but I didn't anticipate the joy that was going to kind of bubble over. People had so much fun that night; myself included! And I'm really looking forward to doing it again.

AC: That’s so nice to hear. Do you have a memory of someone or a few people that came through that really sticks with you about their experience or what you witnessed as they went through The Scream Room?

KO: There were people come in individually and then some people would come in with groups. In the groups, invariably some people were a little more intense in their release than others. But this family, they all went for it, like just so powerfully. And then again, that joy that comes afterward was equivalent to how much energy they had put in and put out.

AC: One of the pictures that you have up on the side of the container, I don't know, the room, that you create for this to happen says, “Heal this.” I guess I'm just curious where the languaging [sic] came from and what the call is to folks when they pass by?

KO: Well I think it is as you say. It’s very personal. And that's one of the reasons why I love making art is because it's real and it's a very open conversation. Everybody sort of brings so much of themselves to any work of art. And so you have an artist's intention for sure, but the variety, the meaning in the impact is as diverse and infinite as are people. Art when it's effective is potent and it has a potency. And as with any substance that has potency. If it's given or taken in the right context or the right dosage, it's medicinal. And by that same token, any substance that has potency can be toxic or intoxicating. And then you have a whole body of artwork that's just innocuous. It's just decorative or entertainment. And that's a different thing. That's not what I'm doing.

That was artist Kylin O’Brien chatting with Andrea Bachman on the Fearless Self-Love podcast, where you can hear more of their conversation.

Screamers can visit The Scream Room at Imagine IF Library in Bigfork Thursday, May 3 from 4 to 6 p.m. and at Imagine IF in Kalispell Friday, May 4 from 3 to 6 p.m.

Nicky is MTPR's Flathead-area reporter.
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