The Stimming Pool
Co-Created Feature Film by The Neurocultures Collective & Steven Eastwood
The Neurocultures Project focused on how autism can transform established cinematic norms and create progressive images. Using a co-creation model, artist-filmmaker Steven Eastwood worked with a group of five autistic artists - the Neurocultures Collective - to co-create a feature length film, The Stimming Pool, and a multiscreen gallery installation, Stim Cinema. One shoot, two artworks.
Co-created by the Neurocultures Collective (Sam Chown-Ahern, Georgia Bradburn, Benjamin Brown, Robin Elliott-Knowles, Lucy Walker) and artist-filmmaker Steven Eastwood, the film’s drifting form is built around the concept of an autistic camera. The curiosity of this camera discovers a relay of subjects, including ROBIN Elliott-Knowles, a B-Movie film club host; SAM, a young woman taking part in a diagnostic eye tracking test, the SHAPESHIFTER, an office worker who is masking their autistic nature; and CHESS, an enigmatic dog spirit. These characters stray through the world, revealing environments often hostile to autistic experience - such as a hectic workplace and a crowded pub - and quiet spaces that offer respite from them. Sometimes the camera wanders off without any guide, finding an ancient woodland, an abandoned testing centre, even a fragment from an animated zombie film set in the American civil war…
Like a Russian doll of Where’s Wally scenes, the film invites the audience to take pleasure in exploring details in every part of the frame. Each of the characters exists in a separate world nested inside one other and often jumping up and down levels. But gradually we come to realise they have common experiences. Some are concealing their autism and dealing with the resulting feelings of isolation, while others thrive in the communities and support structures around them. All, however, have a shared objective: to find a place where they are free to move and stim, uninhibited by the tests and restrictions of normative society. This secret place is the Stimming Pool…
Exhibitions and film showings
Nottingham Castle 25th December to 14th of April