When Mark’s world was stolen after being beaten into a brain-damaging coma, this guy decided to create his a world of his own to help him recover from memory loss since he could not afford therapy.
The ill-fated day was 8th April 2000, when Mark Hogancamp was viciously attacked by five men outside a bar in Kingston, who beat him and left him for the dead. The physical injuries were so severe that even his own mother barely recognized him. After 9 days in a coma, the paramedics were able to miraculously revive him, however he had suffered a severe brain damage and thus he was discharged from the hospital 40 days later with little memory of his previous life.
Because he could not afford therapy, he decided to create his own world, that kick stated his journey to recovery in an unusual way. He created a 1/6th scale World War II era model town in his home backyard and called it Marwencol. He then populated his fictional town with dolls which he had made to represent various people in his life such as friends, family and also his attackers.
The dolls and the other model town props helped him redevelop his eye to hand to coordination, while he managed his psychological trauma through the town’s numerous battles and dramas. He started documenting his fictional world with his camera though to him, they were not dolls but real characters in an epic WW II story filled with of violence, longing, jealousy, and vengeance. He was the hero of his story and called himself Captain Hogancamp.
This life like representation and scenarios created from the memory fragments of his previous life acted as therapy or memory activators that helped him slowly but progressively regain basic motor skills and his memory. Four years down the line, his fictional world was discovered by a prestigious New York gallery, and suddenly, Mark’s self-made therapy was now being celebrated as art. This placed him in the dilemma of choice between the safe haven of his fictional life and the real world that he has avoided since the attack.