Senior Degree Project, Boston University, 2011
“A Deck of Cards for Solitaire” is a set of playing cards meant to mimic the effects of schizophrenia. The disorder (and others like it) is frequently stigmatized and its sufferers are often marked as crazy, even inhuman.
With this set of cards, the player will come closer to empathizing with sufferers. This is done via Delusive Cards dispersed throughout a deck of regular playing cards that are minimalist in style. Playing solitaire with the deck is meant to reproduce the idea of a seemingly normal life that becomes scattered with schizophrenic delusions.
While playing solitaire, the player will run into strange cards that a) are only slightly off, such as the numeral differing from the number of symbols; b) are accusatory of the player; c) have strange symbols or colors replacing the original card face, or have no face at all; or d) suggest that the player is worthless and should commit suicide. These are the Delusive Cards and they are meant to mimic the delusions experienced by sufferers of schizophrenia.
The deck itself is a pun, playing with the idea that card games are generally games of chance, versus the fortune-telling side of cards that coins the phrase “your cards are drawn.” Schizophrenics ended up so by chance (i.e., brain injury, traumatic events, parent with the disorder), but their cards have been drawn for them: they must live with schizophrenia.
This thesis project is meant to bring to light some aspects of something intensely hidden, through a delicately designed deck of cards for solitaire.
Below are some of the cards you will encounter in the deck if you
are playing a game of solitaire. Note that some cards are typical of what is in
a deck of playing cards — but some of them seem a little strange, don't they?