The Archive Embodied
In collaboration with Turner-nominated arts collective Project Art Works, our first workshop featured large-screen installations of abridged sequences from medical 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 remake and reshape clips from popular films such as Mad Max: Fury Road, Nashville, and The Shining to help us explore the divergent viewpoint of autistic spectators.
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, the Neurocultures Collective compiled a series of Creative Home-Kits which were mailed out to participants. They featured materials and instructions designed to guide creative neurodivergent thinkers to create home-made short films and artworks.
Representations of Autism Online Survey
Throughout July and August of 2020, we conducted an online survey asking participants to respond to a number of questions about the representation of autism in popular cinema. Clips of selected popular films were made available and included excerpts from 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 stereotypes. We received 54 responses to our online survey and the answers have been collated ready for analysis.