April 24, 2016 § 2 Comments
(It’s now May 11th and my ears are still ringing.)
Tinnitus. My head wide open. Eyes far apart. That spaced out feeling.
I am floating somewhere in the in-between.
Sound is shape shifting. I’m nostalgic for that day when tiredness formed an echo so that every voice warped into unearthly forms, magically transformed into nonsense. I was 10.
Blaaaah blAAAH Blaaaah blAAAH Blaaaah….
It never happened again.
5 days of ringing in my ears. Is this a new thing?
It’s not unpleasant. I feel otherworldly. Disconnected.
No one else can hear this.
When I tune in my eyes drift to the windows.
In a meeting it is pleasant.
At home it is an exercise in levitation.
I tune in and tune out.
I wait. Not knowing if this will stop.
April 19, 2016 § 2 Comments
My process of application to Art Council England (ACE) is coming to a close and I will be documenting it in the final two weeks. Even though it is statistically more probable that I won’t be successful I want the decision to be visible.
I have some serious questions about the process, having gone through it. How many autistic artists are failed by unwieldy bureaucratic stipulations and the new inaccessible online portal? Even prior to this hurdle we risk failing to meet criteria due to the embedded and hidden social agendas that dominate preferred professional practices.
Fundamental to the application is the understanding of neurotypical professional advancement in all it’s complexity – I am willing to bet that the majority of us don’t conceive of our professional practices in this way. This is but one area of hidden code. I could name many more but that will be for another much longer blog post.
Research is needed into how many autistic artists apply to ACE for their own work, and are successful. I’m not talking about autistics as subjects or clients – but rather as artists in their own right.
April 18, 2016 § Leave a comment
I have a new piece of work. I have a new metaphor. I have a new dance with stigma.
Thoughts swirl. Light on shadow, and shadow on light.
I have courage and I am scared. I have privilege and choice. New work takes time to absorb. I am almost six weeks into knowing that I am autistic – this too is a process of assimilation.
This short video – featuring a new work in my studio (for a group show) brought me to another level of realisation. The concept for this work – one of uncertain weather – is a metaphor for so many aspects of my life as an autistic woman.
I am impatient. I choke on the hard edges of stigma and the truth of it won’t go down.
The weather is uncertain, dictating all my experience of the sensory world. Uncertain weather is a daily encounter with both climate and social spaces.
My piece began as an exploration of exile but I find it works for autism too. You can read more about this connection in my work here.
April 14, 2016 § 2 Comments
New video work about presenting my authentic autistic self in my art practice. I explore NOT performing neurotypicality, in my studio, and through my own video explorations.
April 13, 2016 § 3 Comments
(A photograph of a broken doll’s hand. Something I’m planning to work with in my studio. One click…)
The internet is a tricksy beast. One click and your most immediate thoughts and responses become potentially global. We have the power to appear imperiously on each other’s timelines on almost any platform you chose to name. I am as guilty as any other of the sin of quick comment without true consideration, but never more. Censure or correction takes this a step further. I too have been there. But I won’t be going back now that I’ve experienced it from the other side.
The other day, having posted a poem about my experience as an autistic woman, I received the following correction on Twitter for the title for my piece.
Twitter respondent: “No such thing as “a school for autism.” A school for autistic PEOPLE, perhaps?”
Sonia Boué: “its a poem so not intended to be about a real institution.”
Let me expand.
Because this is a poem there is no such thing as this school of which I write. Except conversely there was such a place because it was the school I went to, or the school of life, or being schooled as an undiagnosed autistic, or any such allusion you care to name – all of which are correct because this is poetry and it is my lived experience; a blend of imagination and memory. Imagination is free.
Ironically the poem is about silencing and correction – of sitting on my pulse as people told me that my way was wrong and I must do it their way. In the poem I describe this as a cage.
After this experience I understand even more the need to be particularly sensitive about correcting other ND individual’s use of language. Otherwise things can quickly become one way or no way. This is also a cage.
A piece of creative writing, a soul piece about an authentic experience expressed by an ND person needs space to breathe and to be allowed to exist – just as we are asking wider society to allow us to breathe and exist.
All my life I have been corrected and I have often felt like a ghost in my own life story, walking in the shadows as a result. I won’t now be silent. I won’t now sit on my hands or quiet my pulse. I will use the language of my choosing.
April 10, 2016 § 3 Comments
(A poem about one event, but also about growing up autistic in a neuro-dominant society. The photograph is a detail from my painting – Departure, 2015.)
I thought about writing for the second time.
Titles flitted, skittered, played about. Dead leaves in a squall. I know why the caged bird sings returned, having appeared the night before. As I turned the wheel I saw my friend Jon carrying small child on his shoulders. A face from beyond. Digging deep into all my yesterdays. Friendship’s saddest song.
The song of my soul/ How my soul dances, appear too. I know I won’t use them.
I reflect. Pause. Breathe.
Timing. Jon’s face appears, (at random?) when I know why the caged bird sings, sings to me.
I turn the wheel, speed by and he is gone.
Making the transition between inner and outer is me in my car on this fine day, driving.
Today I am not crushed. My soul not expired. That was yesterday. Another day. Another time of my crushing.
So I turn the wheel, Jon appears, and the caged bird, singing sweetly. I drive, he walks, the caged bird sings.
This moment will not recur.
This moment is my signal.
To write. Too right. To plunge toward the crusher. I plunge in. In.
I go inside my crushing to sing it. I sing it. It sings. The caged bird.
How it longs to swoop and soar. These are my wings, my span, glancing against cold gold bars. Caged.
I am swift. I gallop (a horse?). I dance and spin. I have a pulse. I am alive. But you cannot see me.
You see order, lines, measures. One way. THE way. That way is SLOW but correct.
That way is weighty. It weights me. I go down, Submerged when I should float. Polystyrene is buoyant. I should be buoyant. I am light as polystyrene but…
THE way is the cage. CAGE.
Pressing me in with polite no’s. No, be quiet now. No singing. No pulses please. No live souls in this place.
We can’t see THAT working. It won’t work THAT way.
I slip away silently. Remaining absent. Quite gone but visible still. I can move and talk. This is my ghost. Ghost me. But they don’t notice.
I sit on my pulse. I hide in the shadows. It won’t work. You don’t work. You don’t exist. You must be SLOW, measured, and walk in straight lines.
Your way is no way. Tut, tut.
No swooping. No dancing. No singing.
And so I wait, hours pass. I sit on my pulse. Until I am free. Alone.
Dim your colours, slow your step.
Spend your time with us. You will learn something.
I learned it.
I learned to sit on my hands and slip away a long time ago.