Frank Dicksee (1853-1928)
“The Funeral of a Viking” (1893)
Located in the Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, England
Victorian critics gave it both positive and negative reviews, for its perfection as a showpiece and for its dramatic and somewhat staged setting, respectively. The painting was used by Swedish Viking/Black metal band Bathory for the cover of their 1990 album, Hammerheart.
I recently mentioned that I’ve joined a new ‘Expert by Experience’ group at a local university. It’s made up of autistic adults and close family members of autistic people, and it’s purpose is to give the autistic community’s input and opinion on research projects (which could be at any stage).
Last week we were presented with our first piece of research, and the researcher is happy for me to talk about it online (this will always depend on the researcher and their project and it’s stage). This piece of research is to investigate whether the reason why more than 70% of autistic people experience some level of motor control problems (i.e. fine motor skills, gross motor skills, balance, hand-eye co-ordination…) is due to the ‘prediction’ stage of the process of moving our bodies.
Motor control problems can have a big impact on people’s lives (not just the difficulty of physically achieving what you want to, but affecting social integration and attracting teasing and bullying). It also affects social skills as the system of motor control is involved in understanding and predicting other people’s movements - e.g. when you see someone else move their mouth, the area of your brain that controls moving your own mouth is activated.
It’s an under researched area and there are no accepted therapies aimed at helping to improve motor skills, as it’s unknown what causes the problems.
Your motor skills control system works by:
1. Reviewing our sensory information (if we’re wanting to pick something up, then we need to look at information from our eyes and internally from the position of our hand in space).
2. Estimate the current state based on that sensory information - where our hand is, and where our hand needs to be.
3. Make a plan of commands to send to our muscles to move our hand to where it needs to be to intercept the item we want to pick up.
4. Prediction. Test the motor control commands to predict whether they will work. This is what the research is designed to test - whether the problem occurs at this prediction stage. The prediction stage is where the brain models what it expects to happen following the commands to our muscles and what it will look like. If we simply moved our muscles without the prediction stage we would be reliant on sensory information from our eyes to observe if our body was moving as intended, but receiving and processing this auditory information is slow, so our body movements would be jerky as we observed and corrected our movements. Prediction makes our body movements smooth. However, if, for example, the prediction stage takes longer to process than usual then it could be the cause of motor control problems.
5. Send the motor control commands to our muscles to initiate the movement.
The research will be carried out by monitoring the brains of volunteers (both autistic and not) as they respond to watching other people do controlled activities, and also as they do controlled activities themselves (finger tapping). Whether, and how quickly, the relevant motor control areas of their brain respond (light up) will be telling.
I’m going to be doing my first Makers Market this weekend! I can’t wait, it’s at the Lowry and I’m hoping the weather is going to stay this amazing! Here’s some of my bee goodies to get you all excited for Saturday!
1962 - It was a busy year for Mosley and his Union Movement, travelling around the country and getting battered by local anti-fascists where ever they tried to show their faces. [video]/[video] and see also [this post]
well, fuck. i dont even know where to begin.. when this all started, i had no idea it would grow to what it is today. what started as a way to overcome my emotional and artistic block, turned out to be my biggest font of inspiration and joy. this not only became my hobby and my job, but also my life. i havent cared for something this much in a long time, and i almost forgot how good it feels to be satisfied with something you are so passionate about. so much has changed from the night i went back home with my first three polaroids and so much will change in a year from now. i still have so much to find, so much to feel, so much to learn, but for once i feel like im doing something right, like im going in the right direction. in this life you have to do things that get your blood racing and just go for the jump. taking this leap of faith was the greatest thing i could have ever done. this year has been intense and rewarding on so many levels, and words cannot express how grateful i am. to the bands and management for being so kind, welcoming and accepting towards my project and me. to my family and friends for supporting me and bearing with me. to anyone that has been following me through this journey, sharing their love and, sometimes, not so much love. thank you for allowing me to express myself in my own way and believing in me, and believing in my work. thank you for making this experience unique and something i will always cherish and carry with me.
we are young, we are human and we are beautiful and we hold all the power in our hands, we just have to make that jump. so just do it, no matter how crazy it sounds. no matter how many people tell you it cant happen. you have the tools you need and the ones you dont, you make them. you can have anything if you want it enough. its not easy - it requires constant work, time, sacrifices, and most likely money - but you know what? its all worth it. so do yourself a favor and go out there and make it happen. not for someone, but for yourself.
the future is a blur, but there is a lot more to come from the polaroid project. you have only seen the tip of the iceberg ;)