I’m going to write some posts about personal projects.
I’ve been undertaking lots of work lately for other people, or for my master’s degree course, which has been incredibly valuable for learning and establishing working relationships with other creative producers.
Because of this, my own areas of interest, as explored right here in this blog, have been slightly shelved during this time, even if the other projects feed into ideas and technical skills – so I felt it would be helpful to articulate some of what I want to have a go at, to ensure the ideas don’t ‘drift‘.
I have been thinking on about sensory subjectivity and autism, which continues to interest me, as at the heart of it, really, is the same old question ‘what is consciousness?’ (I just started reading this book, which promises to look askance at the same question, from a different perspective, and might fuel some interesting ideas for further work, though I note the reader reviews are pretty mixed.)
I had an online conversation with an autistic adult a few years ago, during which he told me a little of his childhood. He was saying that his parents used to worry like crazy about what looked to them like a cognitive absence as he was visually ‘stimming’. He wished to reassure other parents of children with autism that it is OK, the stimming is a useful thing, that autistic children will turn into interesting, capable autistic adults, but that they must be allowed to regulate their sensory processes. It was a very kind comment. But it was the description of what stimming looked and felt like that captured me. He said that if he stared long enough at certain patterns, they took on a kind of iridescent quality that eventually pulled him into a peaceful, beautiful landscape, a place of mental repose for him – and also a source of delight.
One idea for a final major project for the degree is to produce my own animation, a highly-coloured artistic representation of this effect, and an accompanying sound-world that draws in natural sounds and transforms them, to try and replicate the neurological journey. It would be flanked by two monochrome sections where a parent is trying and failing to engage a child in communication, failing to see that the child is clearly communicating that s/he needs right now to be doing exactly what s/he is doing and that this is no cause for sadness.
I was put in contact by a mutual friend with American artist Angela Weddle, who produced this digital sketch for me, from her own projection of what such a world might ‘feel’ like, drawing partly on her own experience.
Here is a video showing how the image was built:
And here is the finished image:
As I am keen to be involved in producing the animation as far as my limited visual creative prowess allows, I am doing my best not to anticipate how it will sound too early in the process, tempting though it is! But I already known the incremental layering of strands seen here must be present in the soundtrack, and that it must use the naturally occurring sound design and Foley with added sounds representing the child’s own internal processes, in order to present the child’s entire neural construct of the world, with all the elements that build it.
I’ll keep you posted on this work!