Funded! This project was successfully funded on May 23, 2011.

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Neurodiversity will help ordinary "neurotypical" people understand what it's like to be autistic.

GOAL Neurodiversity will help ordinary people understand what it's like to be autistic. Autism affects millions of individuals, but the "neurotypical" struggle to comprehend it. Although autism is diagnosed through behavior, I am exploring its sensory basis. Autistic people see, hear, touch and smell the world differently, and these differences affect every facet of their lives.

WHAT I’M CREATING Neurodiversity will be a multimedia installation and website that interprets the experience of autism. Like the portal in Being John Malkovich, people will enter the mind of an autistic person to see daily life from their perspective. The installation will be contained within a hemispheric video dome that incorporates immersive imagery, sound and elements of smell, touch and body awareness. I will offer the installation to museums, galleries, festivals and schools, and the website will contain video, links and supporting materials.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT My installation should help people understand some of the mysterious ways autistic people behave. Why are autistic people socially aversive, even non-verbal? What inspires arm-flapping, screaming and other activities? Why do they focus on tiny details while ignoring entertainment? After experiencing Neurodiversity, you may realize there are circumstances where you would do the same.

HOW I’M PREPARING I have been speaking with autistic people and their loved ones, reading first-hand accounts, and reviewing scientific literature. Dr. Temple Grandin has generously granted an interview, and her books have been an invaluable guide. I’m synthesizing the data I gather into a model of the autistic person’s perceptual world. Since autism represents a variety of conditions called Autism Spectrum Disorder, my model needs to operate on a continuum, and Neurodiversity will present a range of experiences at varying intensities.

WHY I NEED YOUR HELP Reaching the next stage requires a month of solid work. I am an artist who works as a media consultant, and I would like to take a month off commercial work to develop Neurodiversity full-time. With your assistance I can accomplish the following: 

 1. Interview more autistic people. 

 2. Review more psychological and neurological accounts of ASD. 

 3. Complete my model of autistic perception. 

 4. Develop visual storyboards to guide my production.

I estimate 5 more months will be needed to compete the installation, and any funds in excess of $5,000 will be applied to that full-time work. This first month is critical because it will put the project on a solid foundation for fundraising and accelerate my ongoing effort.

WHO ELSE IS HELPING Dr. Thomas Armstrong, author of the book Neurodiversity, is an advisor, as are clinical psychiatrist Dr. Amy Mednick and Dr. Koan Jeffrey Baysa, a medical researcher and curator. I have also been talking to people and professionals who are involved with autism. New York art space White Box has agreed to host exhibition labs so I can present my video sequences as work in progress.

FIND OUT MORE Last year the New York Times reviewed my installation Ouroboros: The History of the Universe, and the full Neurodiversity project brief is on my website Artlab.

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    Receive my thanks and credit as a backer on the website & installation.

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    Receive my thanks, credit and a signed 8” x 10” storyboard.

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    6 backers

    Receive my thanks, credit, and a signed 8” x 10” storyboard on museum-grade paper.

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    Receive my thanks, credit, and a signed 11” x 16” storyboard on museum-grade paper.

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    Receive my thanks, credit, a signed 11” x 16” storyboard on museum-grade paper, a private tour of the exhibit, and a limited edition Art We Love print from my series, Epiphany: Gates.

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    Receive my thanks, credit, a private tour, a 17” x 30” signed storyboard on museum-grade paper, and a large limited edition 3D print from my video cycle Ouroboros.

Funding period

- (60 days)