Parallel Studio presents Solitary

Young design practice based in Kuwait, Parallel Studio, have created the new art exhibition ‘Solitary’ to explore autism.

Behind a new art exhibition in Kuwait City are the young, multicultural design practice Parallel Studio, with a team that come from a variety of backgrounds including architects, engineers and artists. The group has recently completed an experimental art exhibition that frustrates the viewer, hoping to explore and raise awareness of autism, and how it changes the way an individual sees the world.

From the team’s perspective, Solitary was designed to “depict a child who… appears to be withdrawn, socially awkward and different”. Throughout the exhibition, repetitive features are used to emphasize the way an autistic individual sees the world and interacts with it. The main structure is built around a black maze, with dimmed purple lighting within the pathways serving as the only light source. Parallel Studio’s aim is to frustrate the view, creating a sense of solitude and emotional claustrophobia.

From the maze, visitors enter ‘The Moment Room’, a space clad with mirrored materials to create a sense of instability. The viewer is then forced to repeat the journey through the maze; dead ends in these hallways will act, Parallel Studio says, as “stations to exhibit autistic artwork”. At the exit of the maze, visitors will come face to face with an art installation depicting a lonely child sat on a wall, which has been designed by the team behind the exhibit.

There is also a soundscape to the exhibition, composed of multiple tracks layered on to one another. The idea behind this cacophony of sound was to “create a somewhat irritating and frustrating audio environment”, mimicking the way that autistic children often hear the world – loud and overbearing.

Parallel Studio have clearly met their aim of "celebrat[ing] and highlight[ing] how creative [autistic] individuals are". With such a range of elements put together for the project, the Solitary exhibition draws a plethora of emotions from the viewer, allowing them the chance to understand life through the eyes of an individual with autism.

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