‘Stim Your Heart Out’ and ‘Syndrome Rebel’ (Performance Artworks, Autism Advocacy and Mental Health)
Keywords:autism, consultant, stimming, self-regulation, lived-experience, neurodiversity, deficit language, meltdowns
‘Stim Your Heart Out’ is a set of concepts and beliefs that advocate the benefits of the autistic culture of ‘stimming’, a repetitive physical action that provides enjoyment, comfort and contributes towards self-regulation of emotions. Facilitating the exploration of contemporary movement in the context of stimming and self-regulation, workshops generated a series of movement scores, culminating in a patented choreographic system of stimming performances documented at the www.stimyourheartout.com website and associated film.
‘Syndrome Rebel’ utilises this new choreographic system, where a performative movement score was created. A new stimming symbology/language was then developed and embroidered around the edge of a circular blanket, to record the movement score in this new symbology. The artist then interacted with these symbols within a live integrated movement score stimming performance. Continuing the conversations of Civil Rights and Feminism, the work uses textiles, language and performance to challenge the use of deficit language by the medical academic fraternity, and to protest against social behavioural norms, and the stigma that medical and educational practitioners and society associate
with autistic behaviours, due to their medicalised perspective of ‘cure.’ These works advocate for autistic people to be able to celebrate and practise their autistic culture, while sharing the self-awareness of our sensory perception and neuroperspective with the rest of society.
The project and performance address the prevalence of mental health conditions among autistic people, raise the discussion of art as a process of social cognition, and speak to the gap between descriptions of embodied cognition and the co-construction of lived experience. ‘Stim Your Heart Out’ project and ‘Syndrome Rebel’ performance make connections across my lived-experience and research practices within the arts and sciences.
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