The National Autistic Society defines autism as affecting “how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people and how they make sense of the world around them.” People with autism often seek regulation of experience in order to manage the difficulty in inferring and understanding the provisional knowledge and subjectivities of others. Much like the neurotypical “other people” described by those with autism, the on-screen assemblage of normative cinema appears to know what to reveal, what to conceal, where and how to be. However, such a cinema is also required to be regulated, so as to be socialized to the reception and response of “others” (the audience) through normative techniques. But when and how might the much-debated screen-mind relationship produce a frustration of otherness or tamper with an audience’s ability to ascribe provisional knowledge to others? And what can the cinema learn from the autistic experience? This article proposes a form of cinema—cinemautism—to challenge a neurotypical cinematic form.
Steven Eastwood is a filmmaker and artist who works with fiction and documentary. In 2010, his first feature Buried Land was officially selected for Tribeca, Moscow, Sarajevo, and Mumbai film festivals. Screenings and exhibitions include BFI London Film Festival; Encounters; ICA; Jerwood Gallery, London; QUT Gallery, Brisbane, Globe Gallery, Newcastle; KK projects Gallery, New Orleans. He formed the production company Paradogs in 1997 and his documentary Those Who Are Jesus (2001) was nominated for a Grierson Award at BAFTA. Eastwood is Reader in Film Practice at Queen Mary University London. He has convened a number of symposia including Parallax Views of Moving Image, Powers of the False and Interval 1 & 2. He co-founded the arts laboratory event OMSK in the 1990s. Eastwood has published numerous book chapters and articles. He is currently developing a feature-length film, titled The Sally-Anne Test.