(See wordpress.stuartneilson.com for a longer description of this project)
Autistic people do not understand non-verbal communication (body language, gestures and facial expressions) as readily as most people. Even so, I am aware that the “unspoken text” has an effect on me, and I am aware that I can not consciously identify or express my reactions in words.
I visualized the body language of four recognizable personalities in video interviews, capturing their range of gestures and colouring the images with a “heatmap” showing high (red) and low (blue) areas of movement. The two men (Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage) dominate a large volume with grand physical gestures while they speak and the two women (Emma Stone and Nicole Kidman) direct all the viewers’ attention to their spoken message through contained delivery.
In autism, the term alexithymia means literally “not having words for feelings” - other people’s feelings, your own, or the feelings others evoke in you - and these images are visual representations of the parts of a conversation I do not always “get”, which I would find inexpressible in words.