The performance is inspired by the book of records, Messages from an autistic mind, by Birger Sellin who was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. Up to his nineteenth year, he refused all communication with the world, and his parents sought therapy for him at several clinics and institutions, but without results. At the suggestion of one doctor, Sellin undertook writing therapy. In the beginning, his notes and texts were brief and unintelligible but eventually became increasingly coherent, presenting a dreadful, bizarre beauty and an insight into the world of “box people” (that’s what he called himself). The unimaginable pain and perceptions to which he had been exposed inside his autistic prison provide an unsettling testimony proving that autistic people are not intellectually inferior but merely trapped inside the shells of dysfunctional bodies. For autists, the social processes that “normal people” go through unconsciously and automatically are obstructed, because they are unable to process information from the outside world. Their reaction to the apparent chaos of the world is an escape into a highly ritualized life with a single purpose: to create a defense mechanism as a shelter to which they can always withdraw, while the repetition of identical actions provides them with a minimum of security and desired predictability. The aims of this project include drawing public attention to medical advances in autism treatment and resocializing individuals marked as autistic.
light design and video projections: Damir Kantoci
actor: Sven Jakir
participants: users and staff of the Center for Autism
production: KONTEJNER (DIY_ARTLAB)