The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness is Matt’s largest intermodal project to date, weaving together the worlds of literature, music and visual art in the story of one boy’s journey into mental illness. Through this project Matt hopes that readers and listeners will be offered a visual and auditory experience about beauty and resilience, society and belief, that at its heart expresses hope for a greater understanding and embracing of difference.
The narrative unfolds around the metaphor of a tree, growing within the boy, whose flower is ecstasy and whose fruit is sadness.
This multi-faceted work is inspired by Matt’s own lived experiences with bipolar disorder. He has been hospitalised on numerous occasions in mental health facilities and having personally experienced the prejudices and challenges that come from suffering a mental illness, he wanted to offer a sensory insight through words, music and images into the experiences of those who suffer from such debilitating illnesses, particularly psychosis.
Matt’s hope is that this work helps further the discussion around mental illness and the challenges that those who suffer must face everyday.
- Click here to listen to an interview/podcast on the ABC’s All in the Mind program.
- Click here to listen to a short interview on ABC Story Stream
- Click here to listen to an interview on ABC Life Matters
- Click here to listen to Part 1 of Az Roberts’ Paper Fox Radio podcast: Painting Sound, Hearing Colour
- Click here to listen to Part 2 of Az Roberts’ Paper Fox Radio podcast: Painting Sound, Hearing Colour
Matt has also created a 50-minute film of this work which is being screened at selected events/festivals upon request. Through his “Ken Burns”-like cinematic treatment he invites viewers to slow down, reflect, and immerse themselves into a world of beauty and wonder.
The film version of The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness was awarded a Special Mention in the prestigious BolognaRagazzi CrossMedia Awards 2023. It provides audiences with an immersive experience of the work.
Below is a trailer for the film.
‘A soaring and heartbreaking multimedia vision. Wow!’
Susan Wyndham – Former Literary Editor, Sydney Morning Herald