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The artwork explores a number of recurring themes and motifs:

  • Masking/camouflage

  • Shapeshifting and meltdown

  • Testing and diagnosis

  • Stimming, and having to repress stimming

  • Challenging environments and quiet spaces

  • Pattern recognition, and the form of the swirl and the spiral

  • Easter eggs, backgrounds, peripheral details

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Notebook preparatory drawings and diagrams by Sam Chown Ahern



A crowded pub filled to the brim. The camera watches, observing people drinking, laughing, scraping chairs, eating crisps, knocking into and pushing past each other.  The dirge of multiple conversations is audible. It’s a zoo, a human wildlife film: this is an anthropological study of neurotypicality. But if you look carefully, in the background to the edge of the frame it’s possible to catch sight of a lone female figure in a distinctive green coat, unsure where to stand, overwhelmed by the throng.  On the other side of the shot, should you notice, is a back room, and in that distant room two people are playing table tennis.

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Notebook preparatory drawings and diagrams by Steven Eastwood

The sequences in STIM CINEMA explore some of the Neurocultures Collective’s key interests: the enjoyment in perceiving stim-like patterns; the pressure felt by autistic people to restrain stimming behaviour and mask in neurotypical settings; the stimming of other species and things. Many of these themes are experienced on the screen by a character known simply as the ‘Bug’, played by collective member Georgia Bradburn. The Bug is someone who is managing being autistic amongst the significant hurdles posed by the chaos of the neurotypical world, repressing the desire to stim in some settings, and releasing this desire in others. Additional sequences describe ‘neurotypical’ spaces that can be viewed as ‘stimmy’, such as the gym.

Notebook preparatory drawings and diagrams by Benjamin Brown

The expanse of an open plan office. Employees move back and forth, type at their desks, mumble on zoom calls. We hear the ambient sounds of background chatter, machine hum, air conditioning, all competing with each other, along with the insistent noise of a clicking pen. Deep in the shot is an office worker - it’s the young woman in the green coat, also known as the Bug, aka Collective member Georgia Bradburn. The Bug looks up from her desk. Another office worker is staring at her. The shot suddenly enlarges, honing in on a tiny part of the frame, where, in ultra close-up we see that the Bug is micro-stimming, clicking a pen with repeated finger movements.

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The environment shifts to the near silent setting of an open clearing in a woodland. Everything is still. Only, one of the trees in the background is rocking and swaying in the wind. We know this because, gradually, the colour trace of eye-tracked vision focuses on this part of the frame. This quirk of movement in the background is enlarged (much like the Esper machine in Blade Runner), so that the tree is given status by making it larger. It’s as though the tree is dancing, stimming. We see two branches in particular tapping together.

Notebook preparatory drawings and diagrams by Georgia Kumari Bradburn

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Chess character drawings by Lucy Walker

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'The Dying Moon' rotoscope zombie animation designs and storyboards by Robin Elliott-Knowles

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