A collaboration with  iii and Journey Through The Senses, ‘Not to be Senseless’ is a stage for neurodivergent art; with people and art pieces that allow us to experience and explore neurodivergence such as synaesthesia, savantism and autism. The evening opens up new perspectives by recognising differences in how we sense the world.

To echo the different worlds of the neurodivergent, this edition of the event will focus on the sensorial experience of touch. Laura Dima will be exploring the politics of touch through wearable devices that simulate touch between physically separated individuals. Ludmilla Rodrigues will be sharing her pressure-based experiments with inflatables. Jenny Konrad will round off the evening with a talk about self stimulation and the role this plays in neurodivergent thinking. 

Society is still restricted in its knowledge and acceptance of neurodivergence, with neurodivergent people often being seen as difficult. This makes it important to create a moment where neurodivergence gets a place to be seen and respected and that neurodivergence is a strength that shows us our world in a different light.

Laura A Dima

Photography by Pieter Kers

Laura A Dima is a Romanian-born multidisciplinary artist who has been making waves in the art world. Graduating from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in 2015 with a degree in Inter-Architecture, she is currently pursuing the ArtScience Interfaculty master’s program at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK)/Royal Conservatoire (KC) in Amsterdam.

Based in Amsterdam, Laura A Dima operates from her studio, where she crafts captivating multimedia installations that seamlessly blend performance, technology, and academic research. Her works delve into the exploration of cultural norms surrounding intimacy, touch, and privacy, offering thought-provoking insights into these complex themes.

Notable Projects:

Project 01: TACTimat

TACTimat stands out as a series of tactile sculptures featuring flexible, silicone shapes that rise like buttons. The aesthetic and grid composition of these shapes are intentionally chosen to be visually appealing and to encourage exploration through touch. Biomimetic inspiration, drawing from body parts, is evident in the first prototype, where each button approximates the dimensions of human fingers. While the shape remains mostly fixed, variations in height, density, and tip profile contribute to different tactile qualities. The audience is actively encouraged to engage with the mats, exploring their nuances through touch, feel, and play.

Project 02: Bellies (Work-in-Progress)

Currently in the prototype state, Laura A Dima is developing a project that delves into mediated social touch through wearable devices and sculptures. Mediated social touch involves using technology to simulate and facilitate physical touch between individuals physically separated. The concept revolves around two remote individuals communicating and connecting through haptic sculptures, serving as extensions of the body. These sculptures simulate the bodily parameters—heartbeat, breathing pattern, and temperature—of the other person, aiming to inspire feelings of empathy and connectivity. The project envisions a safe and intimate setting where individuals can experience each other without biases or prejudices. The wearable devices offer tactile feedback, allowing users to explore sensations by squeezing and touching the bellies.

Explore Laura A Dima’s captivating journey on her Instagram: Laura A Dima – Instagram

Visit her website for a deeper dive into her artistic world: Laura A Dima – Website

Ludimila Rodrigues

Photography by Pieter Kers

Ludmila Rodrigues, originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has been based in The Hague since 2009. As an accomplished artist, she specializes in creating choreographic objects, haptic spaces, and interactive stages that delve into sensory and social experiences. Rodrigues, with a background in Architecture and Urban Planning, as well as Art from the ArtScience Interfaculty, brings a unique interdisciplinary approach to her work.

Her artistic endeavors challenge conventional notions of artwork by focusing on tactility and inviting visitors to become active participants and researchers. The core of her creations revolves around the body of the audience, exploring relationships of trust, vulnerability, and agency. Beyond her role as an artist, Rodrigues has showcased her works in festivals, theaters, and museums across Europe, Brazil, and Korea. Additionally, she serves as a scenographer, teacher, and occasional performer, currently coaching at the Non-Linear Narrative design masters at the Royal Academy of Art/KABK.

For the evening’s edition of ‘Not to be Senseless,’ Ludmila will be sharing her innovative experiments with pressure, emphasizing touch. Using three distinct inflatable objects that envelop the body, participants will experience a full and gentle touch on their skin, encouraging a sense of relaxation and enjoyment.

Explore Ludmila Rodrigues’ intriguing work on her website: Tina Mustao – Ludmila Rodrigues

Connect with her on Instagram: The Body of the Audience – Instagram

Jenny Konrad

Photography by Pieter Kers

Jenny Konrad, a design researcher and multi-sensory translator of information, is at the forefront of redefining storytelling beyond traditional and digital journalistic media. Their mission is to make information digestible for constantly overstimulated minds and understimulated bodies, pushing the boundaries of storytelling.

Currently, Jenny is delving into the role of the body in our physically estranged culture, with a specific focus on sensory divergences and strategies of body-de-alienation, notably “stimming.” Drawing insights from autistic self- and community knowledge, self-care culture, and care work professionals, their work is theoretically grounded in materialist feminism, crip-theory, disability justice, and the Neurodiversity Paradigm. Jenny has been actively involved in sharing their academic research through collaborations with Health Care Provider Cordaan and presentations at Mediamatic in Amsterdam.

As the speaker of the evening, Jenny will explore the subject of sensory divergent perceptions in their talk. They will shed light on how neurosensory divergent individuals react to sensory impacts and how this can influence their nervous system and lives, with a primary focus on autism and ADHD. During the talk, Jenny will present the audience with a range of stimming toys, emphasizing the importance of these self-stimulatory tools for our need for touch in the broad sense. They will also explain the distinction between 1st and 2nd degree stimming.

Explore more about Jenny Konrad’s work on their website: Jenny Konrad – Mediamatic

Connect with Jenny on Instagram: @_JennyKonrad

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