Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Ava Foster 

BA [Hons] Art

Ava Foster is a Dublin based video artist. She was diagnosed with ADHD in her late teens and seeks to promote awareness of neurodiverse disorders, which are often overlooked in females. There has always been a humorous aspect in her work as she like to call things as they are. She appears in front of the camera and directly addresses the audience, performing actions without shame. Audio is very important in Ava’s work and she enjoys creating the audio before filming her performances. She has exhibited in New Translations (IADT student exhibition at IMMA, 2019) and Propositions (IADT Campus, 2022).

Project Description

Ava’s project engages with the experience of neurodiversity and promotes awareness of disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. She has been developing this project for more than a year and many of her videos have a consciously performative aspect. Her most recent work, titled Intrusions 2022, has a strong message about intrusive thoughts and how they are experienced by someone who is neurodiverse. Ava’s work relies heavily on audio, which is often created by collecting noises around her, such as a car passing by or a radio advertisement. These collected background noises are strung together, making a baseline by speeding up or slowing down the audio. She often layers beats and melody with collected sounds. Her audio isn’t always enjoyable for the listener. Instead, it is generally quite unsettling, in order to reflect the weird feelings associated with the difficult aspects of neurodiversity.

Art and Mental Illness and the Neurodiverse

The subject of Ava's thesis is the impact of mental illness and neurodivergence on artists and their lives. “Neurodiversity is a term coined in the 1990s to describe variation in
human brain functions relating to sociability, learning, attention, and mood.” The question that is being asked is, how do those who are mentally ill or diagnosed as
neurodivergent produce their work, and is it any different from someone who does not suffer from these conditions? Discussing issues including the Art Brut and Outsider
Art movements, how media and the art world perceive artists who have mental illnesses, and if contemporary artists use their neurodivergence for their artwork.