Nora Sayyad: Wired This Way

Turunlinnantie 1, 00900 Helsinki

The ongoing work Wired This Way portrays individuals who are neurodivergent through their stories and photography.

The ongoing work Wired This Way portrays individuals who are neurodivergent through their stories and photography.

In addition to neurodevelopmental disorders issues around mental health are also discussed. While I will examine the topic through artistic work, through photographs and interviews, I will also approach this multidimensional subject through such theoretical concepts as neurodiversity and mental health.

The aim of the work is to make the invisible more visible for everyone interested to see, learn, share, talk and reflect on different life experiences, stigmas and myths, as well as the accepted ideas of ‘normality' and conformity. By questioning the boundaries between predominant neurotypes and ‘others’, including for example dyslexics, autistics and ADHDers, many neurodiversity studies and work are redefining what it means to be human.

The work consists of a written and an artistic part. The artistic part consists of seven portraits of different neurodivergent participants. The portraits are paired with monologues, where the participants open up their own experiences with mental health or neurodivergence diagnosis.

“In the written part of the thesis, I will introduce the reader both to the concept of neurodiversity and research in the context of popular culture, photography, arts, and history. I will also go through some of my own experiences as a neurodivergent person.

Photography is both fascinating and challenging. It is fascinating to learn a lot more about neurodivergent minds and lives, and it is challenging because I am dealing very closely with sensitive and personal issues such as mental health and wellbeing. The work has indeed communicated how important it is as a society to talk about mental health and stigmas around it, even taboos. I think visibility makes it also more thinkable. One of the reasons why I started this work was not only to understand how it is to be human, but also to seek safety, safe spaces, understanding and purpose for oneself.”

Finnish-Palestinian artist and photographer Nora Sayyad currently lives and works in Helsinki, Finland. Sayyad is an empathic storyteller, and occasional lecturer with an experimental take on photography and art. She often combines artistic and documentary approaches in visual storytelling. She graduated on her MA studies in photography and film as a minor from Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture.