The Archive Embodied
In collaboration with Turner Prize nominated arts collective Project Art Works, our first workshop featured large-screen installations of abridged sequences from archive films that depict autism and neurodivergence. Autistic participants were invited to reflect on how an anti-psychiatric gaze changes our perceptions of the movements and behaviours of the subjects on screen. Films shown included Deligny's Le Moindre Geste, Robina Rose's Jigsaw and Illustrations of Autism by McCarthy & Lowenstein.
In December 2019, in collaboration with Dr Sebastian Gaigg of City University, we held our first Screen Dynamics workshop in the Arts One building at Queen Mary. Our interactive installations included an eye-tracker, a live mixing desk, a proxemics station and a reframing room. Participants were asked to view, remake and reshape clips from popular films such as Mad Max: Fury Road, Nashville, Citizen Kane and Punch-Drunk Love, as well as extracts from less mainstream cinema, such as Playtime and ScrapBook, to help us explore both the divergent viewpoint of autistic spectators and the assumed 'typicality' of conventional cinema.
A number of the autistic participants were subsequently invited to form a co-creation group for the Film Practice element of the wider project. This group eventually became the Neurocultures Collective.
Responding to the 2020 lockdown, a series of Creative Home Kits were mailed out to workshop participants and potential Neurocultures Collective members. These kits featured materials and instructions designed to guide creative neurodivergent thinkers to generate artworks at home.
Representations of Autism Online Survey
During the summer of 2020 we conducted an online survey asking participants to respond to a number of questions about the representation of autism in popular film, TV, documentary, and online. Clips of selected films included Temple Grandin, Life, Animated, Punch-Drunk Love, Mozart and the Whale, and the short film In My Language by Mel Baggs. The questions asked participants to consider whether the clips showed an accurate portrayal of autism or relied too heavily on inaccuracies and stereotypes. Lastly, those taking part where asked what kinds of representations they would like to see. We received 54 responses to the survey!