CGED Research Seminar Series
Embracing Neurodiversity - Sharing Empathy through Multi-sensory Immersive Art
Speaker: Dawn-Joy Leong
Respondent: Dr Giorgio Biancorosso, Department of Music, Faculty of Arts, HKU
Date: February 28, 2018
Time: 4pm - 5:30pm
Venue: Room 4.34, Run Run Shaw Tower
Empathy is a complex concept: an abstract phenomenon that can be felt, but remains invisible and unknown to others unless properly conveyed. Each human culture has different ways of expressing and showing empathy. Nonetheless, empathy is an important part of human interaction and a key component to forming congenial relationships.
According to the neuronormative-designed pathological description, the autistic person is a social misfit without ability to form meaningful connections, in a barren mindscape devoid of empathy and creative imagination. In reality, the autistic realm is a rich and vibrant sensorial ecology teeming with detail, observations of minutiae, and dynamic energy; and autistic persons possess a different kind of empathy, an alternative connectivity that is no less meaningful than that of the social normative majority.
Autism has been scrutinized and defined by the neuronormative for almost a century, yet the normative realm has failed dismally to understand the autistic existence. Perhaps it is now time for the autistic world to show the way forward, with multi-art practice as agency, towards deeper empathic resonance across neuro-cultural divides.
Dawn-Joy Leong is an autistic artist-researcher presenting autism as parallel embodiment, with sensory-cognitive idiosyncrasy as the nucleus of her research, and an artistic practice of immersive mind-body experiences via music, visual art, photography, narrative, poetry and performance. Lucy Like-a-Charm, a rescued former racing Greyhound, is Dawn’s creative muse and faithful companion. Together, they traverse blended, multidimensional terrains of neurodiversity: flipping pages of imagination, dancing around pandiatonic-chromatic-polyrhythmic fires, celebrating symbiotic connectivity, and finding new ways to sense the world and Be. Dawn-joy Leong has an MPhil in music composition from HKU, and a PhD from UNSW Art & Design, winning the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Research in 2016.
Co-sponsored by Equal Opportunity Unit, HKU.