Nicola is presenting this Saturday at the Patterns of Thought: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Aesthetics, Education and The Arts at the Bluecoat Gallery in Liverpool. Her paper is entitled, Perceiving Differently: Autism, Participatory Performance and Extraordinary Aesthetics.
“The enigma of autism is associated with artistic and scientific talent as well as extreme disability. This paper challenges stereotypes and proposes alternative ways of positively and creatively engaging with cognitive and perceptual difference through the multi sensory practices of performance arts (encompassing theatre, dance and music). Drawing upon a range of interdisciplinary projects in conjunction with the concept of ‘outsider art’, I trace connections between the visual, aural and kinetic features of the autistic profile and the aesthetics of contemporary theatre and performanc performancee art. Deeper relations between contemporary performance paradigms and autism are considered with reference to my experience of an interdisciplinary research project. Immersive installations, puppetry and digital media facilitated communication, social interaction and imagination, whilst the methods used challenged traditional pedagogies. The multimodalities of performance, it is speculated offer a space for ‘encounters’ with autistic states of being, challenging the dualisms between the aesthetic and non aesthetic, offering a window into ‘the beautiful otherness of the autistic mind’”.