BioGraffs first incarnation was the Graphic Sex Project - a live, interactive installation where people were invited to use colored cubes to make a "graph" of a good sexual experience: a storyboard of a favorite sexual flow. Over a couple of years, I collected nearly a thousand images of the graphs people made and contributed to the project.
People loved it! It was really fun and spicy to look at the graphs other people had made, and it inspired many people to make their own. People would often be surprised at the insights into their own sexual life and desires they would have in the course of making a graph.
In 2019 I began offering the installation to universities for their Sex Week calendar -- these were started at Harvard, and are now a university tradition at many campuses around the county. They are great for sex education and raising awareness around issues of consent and health, and for general sex-positivity, and the Graphic Sex Project fit right in!
Amherst College in Massachusetts was one of the first to host a GSP event and it was a big success! The students had a great time making the graphs and talking about sex.
In addition to Amherst, Ohio State, Swarthmore, Tufts, and the University of Maryland also hosted a Graphic Sex Project Installation. Here are a couple of graphs that were submitted at those events and shared anonymously with the Project:
There's a lot of things that make a BioGraffs installation or event at a university a great idea. Here are a few:
It's a quirky and playful way to think about a serious topic
It gets people talking
It makes people think deeply about something in a really different way
The pandemic really kind of shut down my Graphic Sex Project installations, but it also made me rethink a lot of things. One thing I realized is that for the same reason that playing with cubes is a good way to talk about sex, it's also a really good way to talk about anything that's complex, intimate, personal, emotional, loaded with baggage, or otherwise challenging to communicate about well. Like relationships, like depression or addiction, or like parent/child relationships, or like anxiety or what-the-hell-do-I-do-with-my-life kind of questions. Question like who am I? Who do I want to be? Who are we together?
So now that BioGraff Magnetic Plus is off to the factory to be produced and ready for therapists of all kinds, I'm turning my focus to putting together installation materials for Universities that want to have their own BioGraffs installation. It could be for Sex Week or some other sexual health and wellness event, but here are some other ideas for using BioGraffs as a way to get your students at an event or workshop, talking and interacting about complex topics:
At a freshman orientation event
Have everyone make a BioGraff about what they hope to get out of their university experience
Stress or Anxiety Coping Workshop - people are invited to make a BioGraff about:
My Self-Care Routine
The Course of My Anxiety
A Bad Day in my Depression
What Stresses Me Out
What a typical drinking night looks like (vs. atypical)
Strategies For avoiding/minimizing use
My Recovery Story
Intercultural & Identity
How I define My Identities
My Identity Development Process
My Relationship to My Culture
A Time I Experienced Culture Clash
Things I Value From Other Cultures
How My Spirituality Faith Gives Me Strength
Where I Find Awe
How I Define Faith/God
Faith in My Life Day to Day
My Life With My Ideal Career
Two Paths and My Values
The Next Five Years: A Timeline
Sexuality and Identity
What I Want in a Relationship
My Coming Out Process
What My Sexuality Brings to My Life
Title IX Workshop
How I express enthusiastic consent
How I Feel When My Consent Is Violated
A Time When I Was Harassed/Felt Unsafe
How I Practice Sustainability in My Daily Life
My Strategies for Reducing Waste
My Relationship with the Environment
How I Define Well-being
A Better, Healthier Me
A Day of Being Good to My Body
Interested? As the creator of BioGraffs, I would love to get on a call with you to brainstorm ways you could use this fun, powerful, adaptable tool for a workshop or group that you run.