What Is The Neurodivergent Aesthetic And Is There An Appetite For This Hidden Genre?

This is a post about the work I am involved in at DYSPLA, a London based Arts Organisation specialising in developing and producing the Neurodivergent Aesthetic.

DYSPLA is destined to explore and investigate the Neurodivergent Aesthetic (ND-A) until the end of time. Since 2010 DYSPLA have professed there is a hidden genre and this post is an attempt to spread their message far and wide.

We have all been told that Neurodivergent people think differently, but do Neurodivergent artists and filmmakers create differently too?

Dyslexic and Neurodivergent Storymakers have a strong heritage in narrative and non linear art history. For example, British filmmakers such as Steve McQueen, Ridley Scott, David Lean, Roger Graef, Charlie Chaplin, Guy Ritchie, Joe Wright and international filmmakers, Francis Ford Coppola, Spike Lee, Stan Brakhage, George Lucas, Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Michael Bay, Nicolas Winding Refn, Søren Kragh-Jacobsen, Jim Jarmusch and Alejandro G. Iñárritu, are some of the most prolific Storymakers identifying as Neurodivergent. DYSPLA believes it is their Neurodivergence that makes their films genius.

However, recognising the commonality between many established filmmakers and artists does not necessarily lead us closer to identifying or understanding the ND-A. Infact, using famous references may actually dilute the process further, since Executive and Studios have influence over the finished product.

To really identify the ND-A, one must turn to the grass roots of independent filmmaking and moving image works and the DYSPLA Collection is an excellent place to start.

DYSPLA’s exclusive collection of films by ND artists and filmmakers is currently exhibited at The Living Record Festival, until 22 February 2021. This is the largest collection of moving image work by British Neurodivergent filmmakers and artists and only exclusively streaming at The Living Record Festival. We invite you to watch DYSPLA’s 2018 International Moving Image Festival highlights as well as new films and 360 content, culminating in a curation of 22 independent films.

Award winning filmmakers and world renowned artists include: D-Fuse with his DYSPLA commissioned film, “Fight 1,” Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese with “Behemoth: Or the Game of God,” Mike Forshaw, with “Saturday”, Emma Allen, with “Ruby” as well as Finalist films by, Kate Aries — “Foil,” Sam Johnson — “God’s Lonely Man,” Aurora Fearnley — “Murmur,” Gregory Hayman — “Dog,” James McColl — “Celebrating Aging,” Mads Johan Øgaard — “I Am Dyslexic,” and Campbell McConnell — “Deck Chair”.

Lennie Varvarides, Founder of DYSPLA, describes this collection as, “Evidence of the Neurodivergent Aesthetic, a new genre that will hide no more.”

Behemoth: Or the Game of God, by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese
Saturday, by Mike Forshaw
Ruby, by Emma Allen

Tickets are only £10.00 and audiences have 5 days to absorb the full collection while being introduced to the Neurodivergent Aesthetic.

Please consider booking your tickets online before the 22 February 2021, your support is crucial in promoting and developing the Neurodivergent Aesthetic among grass root filmmakers and artists.

Thank you for reading this post to the end. If you identify as being a ND Artists, Filmmaker, or Writer, I would love to connect. Please leave your twitter handle in the comments.

Click the link below to book your tickets:

I am aware that there are no female identifying neurodivergent filmmakers in the list above, this is not because I do not want to list them, but because I cannot find any who are as well know as their male counter parts. This is something the whole industry needs to take responsibility for and to champion for change. I would like to give Daryl Hannah a special mention as she has made her director debut with Paradox, 2018 and if you know of any more, please do share their names in the comments.

Artist & Filmmaker Bios Below:

The DIMIF 2018 Retrospective was made possible with the support of Arts Council England with funding from the National Lottery in 2018.

The Festival Award Winners

Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese — “Behemoth: Or the Game of God”
Mosese is an acclaimed screenwriter, film director and visual artist from Lesotho. This experimental socially and politically charged short was an official selection at the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival. Recently, Mosese’s second feature film, “This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection” won a special jury prize for “visionary filmmaking” in Sundance’s International competition in 2019 and it’s been submitted as Lesotho’s first ever entry for Best International Feature film at the 2021 Academy Awards.

Mike Forshaw — “Saturday”
Forshaw is a screenwriter and director from Liverpool. His film tells the fictional story of how a family in Merseyside was affected by the historical Hillsborough stadium disaster in 1989. “Saturday” was screened in many international festivals and was nominated for the Short Film Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

Emma Allen — “Ruby”
Allen is a multi winning award visual artist, best known for her face paint and body paint animation. “Ruby’’ is an animated self-portrait exploring the idea of rebirth and the transference of energy through reincarnation. Allen’s work has garnered critical acclaim and has been exhibited worldwide. Her new short film project “Grey Matters” combines Neuroscience and Art to tell a story about depression.

The Festival Commissions

D-Fuse — “Fight 1”
D-Fuse is a London-based visual arts company, founded by Neurodiverse artist Mike Faulkner, working across a range of media. “Fight 1” is a multi channel film installation in collaboration with DYSPLA made especially for the 2018 International Moving Image Festival. D-Fuse’s other notable works include “Carbon Chris Blipverts”, a series of short animations exploring Global warming issues, “Powers of X”, a VR film adaption of Charles and Ray Eames’ film, “Powers of Ten” and “Small Global”, an immersive video installation that addresses global interdependence, consumption and its environmental costs.

Daniel Bendelman — “The Life and Death of an Anonymous Autistic Man”
An experimental film installation, Bendelman’s work invites the viewer to confront the question of mortality and the role that pathology and the dehumanisation of the self has within the lived experience of autism. Bendelman is a Set & Costume designer, an Installation Artist and an academic.

DYSPLA — “Fight 2”
DYSPLA’s own contribution, co-directed by Kazimir Bielecki and Lennie Varvarides, is a variation of their collaboration with D-FUSE with a sound track by Swayzak. The film looks at how a society focused on neoliberal ideals can destroy communities and grow fear. Both films were funded by the Arts Council England.

The 2018 DIMIF Highlights

Kate Aries — “Foil”
Aries is a digital artist, exploring perception and illusion through experimentation with the camera and her body. Her experimental films question identity in the contemporary world, physically, sexually, virtually and digitally. Aries’ work has been exhibited in numerous art spaces across the UK and internationally.

Sam Johnson — “God’s Lonely Man”
Johnson is a recent film graduate from Falmouth University and wrote and directed “God’s Lonely Man” in his 3rd year there. An atmospheric black & white tale of a delirious pilgrim’s search for a hallowed monastery, the film was also screened at the BFI Southbank as part of the London Short Film Festival in 2018.

Aurora Fearnley — “Murmur”
Fearnley is a London based award-winning writer/director with a string of successful short films under her belt and a slate of genre features and TV projects currently in development. “Murmur”, a suspenseful period short about a young woman’s effort to escape a commune, was commissioned by Directors UK and has won many awards including Breakthrough Filmmaker at The Smalls. Fearnley has participated in BAFTA CREW x BFI NETWORK, Reykjavik Talent Lab, Creative England Talent Centre, VFX Script to Screen Ireland, Screen Yorkshire Triangle and WFTV mentoring scheme.

Gregory Hayman — “Dog”
This video artwork is a response to the migrant crisis and the death of the three-year-old Syrian boy Alan Kurdi and has been exhibited worldwide. Hayman is an artist currently based in Wales and works with printmaking, sculpture and video art. His interests lie in art history, memory and trauma. He’s currently working on a new video project about Auschwitz.

James McColl — “Celebrating Aging”
McColl’s is a multidisciplinary artist working with text moving image and performance. His film uses found footage from his family’s super-8 home movies to explore his grandmother’s deteriorating health and her reflections on life. McColl is based in Plymouth and has exhibited work worldwide. He is also the co-founder of First Line Theatre, a live art group producing site-responsive performances.

Mads Johan Øgaard — “I Am Dyslexic”
Øgaard is a Norwegian illustrator, animator, public speaker & special education teacher. His animated film, “I Am Dyslexic”, has won 12 awards in film festivals worldwide and numerous nominations and official selections. The film expresses what it feels like to have a learning difference in the current school system. Øgaard’s most recent short film “With Universe In The Suitcase” illustrates the many everyday feelings of an individual with ADHD

Campbell McConnell — “Deck Chair”
McConnell is a performance artist based in London. His work has been presented in many solo and group exhibitions worldwide.

©Lennie Varvarides, Feb 2021.

London based dyslexic creative, working in development. Founder of DYSPLA Www.dyspla.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store