• Steven Heller

Mini Golf for Phobia Fixers

OFF COURSE, the phobia-centric mini-golf course and exhibit curated by Kevin O’Callaghan for the School of Visual Arts MFA Design program features a witty and wiley 18 holes of phobia-fairways (currently on view at SVA, 209 East 23rd St., Monday – Saturday). Here they are:

JESSE YUAN / MACROPHOBIAFEAR OF WAITING:  Macrophobia derives from (Greek: “makros” meaning large) and (“phobia” meaning fear), to describe people who have overwhelming, persistent “fear of waiting” or “long waits”. The macrophobic person may experience intense fear and discomfort when confronted with any situation that involves having to wait.

KATIE ESTES / HOPLOPHOBIAFEAR OF FIREARMS: Hoplophobia comes from the Greek word hoplon, meaning armor. One belief of people with this fear can be that the control of the weapon lies in the firearm itself and not in the handler of the weapon. In other words, guns do not kill people, people kill people.

LEEN SADDER / RHABDOPHOBIA – FEAR OF MAGIC: Rhabdophobia is the fear of magic, particularly of spells, curses and fortune tellers. People who are rhabdophobic are terrified of the idea of the super natural and stay away from psychics, magic shows, and illusory tricks.

ELISA BATES / CHOROPHOBIA – FEAR OF DANCING: Chorophobia the irrational fear of or aversion to dancing. This is often based on one’s unwillingness to become aroused, excited, or ecstatic; some past traumatic experience; or embarrassment by one’s lack of natural grace. Suffering from this intense fear can result in breathlessness, dizziness, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, feeling sick, shaking, heart palpitations, inability to think clearly, a fear of dying, a sensation of detachment from reality or a full blown anxiety attack.

BRUNO ZALUM / BAROPHOBIA – FEAR OF REVERSED GRAVITY: Barophobia is an overwhelming, irrational fear of gravity. The barophobic individual may have a completely distorted view of the force and consistency of gravitational pull. Individuals coping with this phobia may fear that they will be crushed by the force of gravity were it to become too great. On the other end of this spectrum, there are barophobic individuals who may fear that gravity could reverse itself and that they will be doomed to live upside down.

TIM HUCKLESBY / KABOUROPHOBIA – FEAR OF CRABS: Derived from Kabouros (Greek: crabs), Kabourophobia is a term describing people who struggle with the fear of all things crab. The thought of a nip on the toe proves too much for sufferers to enjoy paddling in rock pools, visiting aquariums or watching Deadliest Catch.

MELISSA GORMAN / GELOTOPHOBIA – FEAR OF BEING LAUGHED AT: Gelotophobia is a term derived from (Greek: laughter gelos) and (fear phobia), to describe people who have a “fear of being laughed at”. While most people do not like being laughed at except, perhaps, for gelotophiles, there is a sub-group of people that exceedingly fear being laughed at. Without obvious reasons, they relate laughter they hear e.g., in a restaurant to themselves and feel unease when confronted with laughter.

SOOJI HAN / VIDIGAMEAPHOBIA – FEAR OF VIDEO GAMES: Vidigameaphobia is the fear of videiogames. This could range from just being plain scared of video games to fears of being beaten at videos, or scared the video game might come to life.

SYLVIA VILLADA / GIGAPHOBIA – FEAR OF TALL PEOPLE: Gigaphobia pertains to the fear of giants and large creatures, most commonly people. Therefore any person above the average height of their immediate surroundings could be feared by someone with this particular phobia.

ADAM KATZ / ICHTHYOPHOBIA – FEAR OF FISH: Ichthyophobia is a fear of all things fish, which entails; eating fish, swimming with fish, smelling fish and encountering a dead fish. Ichthyophobia has a more common subtype called galeophobia that is specifically focused on one type of fish: sharks. Icthyphobes are even intimidated by metaphors that involve the term fish such as “something smells fishy” “he’s swimming with the fishes” and “big fish in a small pond.”

ALBERT PERETA / SELENOPHOBIA – FEAR OF THE MOON: Selenophobia is defined as an intense, persistent and irrational fear of the moon. The word derives from the Greek “seleno,” meaning moon and “phobos” meaning  fear.

JOANNA KUCZEK / BLOSHEPHOBIA – FEAR OF BOLSHEVIKS: The early Bolsheviks objected to white cows, thinking the color would remind the peasants of the royalists. In 1919 the Central Committee ordered all white cows dyed red. Those who opposed the Bolshevik regime paid a heavy price. Executions, separations from friends and family, and prison sentences in rough barracks where food and water were scarce, were oftentimes the punishment. Stalin, a bloodthirsty dictator, is the primary trigger for this phobia.

SEBASTIAN EBARB – DISPOSAPHOBIA – FEAR OF THROWING THINGS AWAY: Disposaphobia is the excessive acquisition of possessions (and failure to use or discard them), even if the items are worthless, hazardous, or unsanitary. Compulsive hoarding impairs mobility and interferes with basic activities, including cooking, cleaning, showering, and sleeping. It is not clear whether compulsive hoarding is an isolated disorder, or rather a symptom of another condition, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder.

MICHAEL CROXTON / ASYMMETRIPHOBIA – FEAR OF THINGS BEING ASYMMETRICAL: Asymmetriphobia is caused by genetic predispositions and/or environmental events and experiences. It may even be possible for one to know the exact period in life when the anxiety attached itself to the unconscious mind as something to be feared and thus begins the Asymmetriphobia.

MAYA LEE / NEPHOPHOBIA – FEAR OF CLOUDS: Nephophobia (Nepho is Greek for cloud) is an excessive fear of clouds. People who experience this phobia will not look up in the sky at clouds. This fear may be related to other fears concerning weather; such as, impending rain, thunderstorms, or lightning. It is usually accompanied by feelings of dread, overwhelming thoughts, rapid heartbeat, and tunnel vision.

DEREK MUNN / NUCLEOMITUPHOBIA – FEAR OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS: Nucleomituphobia began with the advent of the atomic bomb. Even though this fear is completely legitimate, people truly suffering from Nucleomituphobia are miserable. They can’t seem to shake their overwhelming negative feelings toward nuclear weaponry and the fear of attack. In extreme cases, people suffering from Nucleomituphobia have a preoccupation with the destruction of the world. The only know cure is when the person realizes they have no control over events surrounding nuclear activity.

CAMILLE MCMORROW / TESTOPHOBIA – FEAR OF TAKING TESTS: Fear of taking tests. While tests provoke anxiety and dread in many people, the truly testophobic experience a much stronger reaction, sometimes with nausea, irregular heartbeat and rapid breathing. The fact that our society places such an emphasis on testing only makes the suffering of this phobia worse. The phobia makes it nearly impossible to think clearly, causing bad grades, and in turn, more anxiety about tests.

ELLIOTT WALKER / ZUIGERPHOBIA – FEAR OF VACUUM CLEANERS: While this phobia is most commonly found in infants and small dogs, there have been reports of Zuigerphobia in human adults. For zuigerphobes, the threat of being sucked into a vacuum cleaner is a real and present danger. That image, combined with the loud sound of most consumer-grade vacuum cleaners, creates intense feelings of fear and anxiety in the presence of these useful, effort-saving appliances.

(Photos by Soo Ji Han)

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