Digital Tapestries has released a new film series, “Freeze,” that examines the limits of talk therapy in helping trauma survivors recover from their experiences. “Freeze” also showcases the healing role art can play in a survivor’s healing journey, whether by exploring Chicago’s architecture and public art or by communing with music.
Digital Tapestries is headed by therapist, turned filmmaker, Jonas Hart Ginsberg– or Hart, as he prefers to be called. The idea is simple: consuming art can be therapeutic and healing. Digital Tapestries amplifies that concept by creating blends of vocals, music and imagery in films that aim specifically at improving the viewer’s mental health. The most simple being guided meditations, of which, they have many worth watching.
While Digital Tapestries has made a name for itself by short guided meditation videos that blend instrumental music, voice-over and imagery in films designed to support viewers’ mental health. But in less-conventional filmmaking, founder Hart Ginsburg and his collaborators lead the viewer into a surreal, yet relatable world.
The new film series, “Freeze,” is the latest example of this experimental filmmaking from Digital Tapestries. It explores how humans respond to trauma, the limits of talk therapy in helping them recover, and the role of art in healing the human spirit.
“Therapy has many wonderful attributes, however, at times it is used by our society as a Band-Aid,” said Hart Ginsburg, founder of Digital Tapestries. “It might not be enough. It has limits.”
Recognizing those limits becomes especially important after a trauma. Because conventional talk therapy takes place between just two people–the therapist and the client–it can be difficult to tackle broader societal questions, like gun violence, when therapy is touted as the sole answer to trauma.
“It is concerning to me that after a school shooting we often hear responses like crisis therapy, in other words, how can kids develop ‘social emotional skills’ for violence,” Hart said. “When, instead, the question should be framed more proactively: ‘How can we as adults make our society a place where kids can be kids without living in fear of death?’”
In “Freeze,” the protagonist, Mort, struggles to communicate with his therapist. In sessions, he responds to questions or suggestions using only facial expressions, slight nods, or slow gestures. Beyond his Zoom therapy sessions, he finds himself falling into in and out of a freeze state while walking through downtown Chicago.
Then, a street performer inadvertently comes to his aid by playing his trumpet. His songs thaw the frozen Mort. As Hart describes it, pausing to enjoy the art around us can “give space to our thoughts.”
Overall, “Freeze” is humorous, comforting, relevant and simply beautiful. There are so many who struggle with trauma, and find conventional therapy difficult, or unnatural or inaccessible. The film gracefully combines striking scenes of a cold city with blends of original music.
“It’s not telling people what to do. We want to give people space for reflection, and to take stock in their own life,” said Hart. “The intention of our films is to empower viewers by providing a metaphysical space, where through reflection they can discover what is important to them in how they want to live their lives.”
Ginsburg and Digital Tapestries publish short films every month on their YouTube Channel. While each film is unique, all share the same goal: serving the viewer’s mental health.
To enjoy Digital Tapestries’ work, click to view their YouTube page.