Leyla-Nour Benouniche, a.k.a. Captain Nightlight, is creating a series of video registrations of live talk shows on the theme of mental health. The interviews are set in a spaceship in a science fiction world, and the guests are psychiatrists, artists, scientists and more. Each episode is introduced with an opening animation and soundtrack.
The pilot episode of this multimedial video series, titled Clueless Captain, an emotional space odyssee
, is aimed at young adults whose voices aren't heard or are not sufficiently reached. Benouniche offers them access to important information about topics such as burnouts, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, fear and panic attacks. A potential future episode would feature Dr Romy to discuss Internet and game addiction. Through this series, Benouniche is creating a platform and a toolkit that exist in a mix of reality and fiction in order to establish a growing community and network to support young people – particularly young queers of colour, who find it difficult to talk about these topics with each other.
Benouniche, a French/Algerian artist, illustrator, video producer, studied Interactive/Media/Design at the Royal Academy of Art. 'Identity and descent were important topics of discussion at the academy, and I became more interested in them through my internship as a video editor for Navild Acosta and Fannie Sosa of Black Power Naps.' For her research, Benouniche examined children's cartoons, talk shows such as Queer Eye of Oprah
, science fiction, African mythology and visual codes in queer and diaspora communities. 'I'm still a fan of children's cartoons on YouTube. I used to watch them myself whenever I felt anxious. It's a very accessible way for children to learn about all kinds of subjects, but there doesn't exist anything like it for young adults.' This inspired Benouniche to include cartoons in the pilot episode about anxiety.
For the production, she is collaborating with a co-producer, a graphic designer and a sound designer. She was also advised throughout the process by Joy Mariama Smith and Mary Maggic of (A)wake, who chose Benouniche and other artists from the Asian and North African diasporas for artist-in-residencies at MONO Rotterdam.
In the meantime, Benouniche is working to create more episodes. She has already presented her project at the New Radicalism Festival
in MONO Rotterdam, and at Sexyland
in the context of the Pride[/I
. The pilot episode is launched on yayemma.com in September.
Text: Viveka van de Vliet