The “living room” has long been considered the optimal spatial configuration to contain therapeutic psychedelic experiences. Recognised for its ability to elicit feelings of comfort and safety and positioned in diametric opposition to notions of the clinical, it is now possible to find these uncanny relics of domesticity nested within the envelope of psychedelic research and treatment facilities the world over.
Where did the spatial trope of the living room come from, and what can we learn from it? Does this configuration represent the apogee of setting affordances in therapeutic protocols, or should we be rethinking the way we situate these experiences?
These questions and more form the backbone of a discussion around the role of space and spatial design practice in the emerging field of psychedelic therapies.
Anna Conrick is a practising spatial designer and design educator at Monash University, Melbourne. Currently undertaking doctoral research at MADA (Monash Art Design and Architecture) entitled Affinities and Atmospheres: Using Design to Rethink Set and Setting in Psychedelic Therapies, Anna’s work explores spatial setting as a lively and designable encounter.
Anna studied Anthropology at La Trobe University in Melbourne, and Interior Design at RMIT (Melb) and Parsons/The New School in New York. With a practice background in both architectural design and fabrication (ceramics and lighting), Anna’s professional experience frames an ongoing research interest in vibrant matter and material agency which lends a particularly sensory focus to her work.