Component Exploration: Z.D.’s Art
Study with Me with ADHD by Z.D.
Description: An exodus from the clean, clear and minimalist monopoly on your every day studyspo content. I’m happy to bring you a candid ode to maximalism and messiness. An ADHD Study/Work with Me! Come join, support, n hang out :). Expect an unapologetically messy desk, moments of zoning out, moments of uninterrupted hyperfocus, snamming fiddling, getting up just to lie down again, 800 tabs open and a focus on progress and motivation. This is an anti-hustle culture zone.
Z.D. – Artist’s Statement and Reflections
I am a multi-disciplinary artist. I do installation-like immersive [work]. I’ve been on a spoken word team. I did poetry, performance art, Internet art, virtual and real life programming and workshops. Really. I think if I have a vision or a story, I have to find the medium that fits that best.
For this project, I remember it was hard to kind of prioritize and figure out what to do when in terms of deadlines… I ended up, yeah, just being like okay, I’m going to work on this Real Asian thing this day, and the next day I’m going to work on the ADHD stream and do some of the Real Asian thing… Sometimes it was helpful to remove my anxiety and be like, okay, I have some type of plan and I’ve communicated that to the people involved.
So yeah, the other day, I borrowed my roommate’s tripod for a camera with the ring light and I put that in my room and I was just testing different ways to put the camera on me. I went onto YouTube and I was looking at other people’s “Study With Me” to see what kind of angle they had and what their area looks like. Their overlay, you know, they have a good chat box or whatever. So I did that and then I sent some screenshots to a friend… and I just asked her what shot, do you think is best? And so she told me, I was like, I agree. So I need to recreate that angle. Because you need to have it so it’s like you’re working, but they can still kind of see your face – you’re not completely silhouette.
There is a lot of study content online or productivity tips, and I don’t know how to get organized or whatever. And while I am someone in need of that as a person with ADHD, I also cannot relate to a lot of them. And they’re just like you need to work on your time management and pictures of very beautiful, highlighted notes. And it’s very aesthetically focused for a lot of these content creators. And I just kind of come out feeling bad about myself. I’m sure you know why. I’m watching this from my completely messy desk and I don’t know, deadlines I’m unsure about or whatnot.
And I wanted to create content that wasn’t like that, so I was googling and YouTubing ADHD Study With Me or Neuro-divergence Study With Me or anything like that. But all of this content that was popping up was more like tips for studying or productivity, with people who have ADHD. But nothing that I was looking for, so I was like okay, I’m going to set out to fill that gap in some way. Because I’m sure I’m not the only one who is tired of seeing, like, you know, a video of a person at their desk and the desk is totally clean with beautiful notes inside and they have their latte with the swirl in it. And it looks like a Pinterest board. I was like what if I just showed my messy desk and me not doing perfect Pomodoros? I actually can’t fully. I feel like I need to crip Pomodoros in a way so that they work for me, because the traditional way is 25 minutes work / five minutes break – so hard. I don’t know how people do that. And a lot of the Study With Me streams use something like that… I need a little more freedom and even if it’s like technically not efficient to work like you know 20 minutes and then break for 10 minutes, that’s like what I need.
Great and yeah, that reminds me, that might include me getting up and down or using my fidgets or going to lie down or put my head down or something. Things I would normally do studying, but I never see study streamers do. I would love to see more of that, right? Like, let’s get rid of these aspirational ideas of what is the like right way to do things.
Luckily, the stuff I’m working on in my life right now is all stuff that like I’m really interested in. And the people I’ve been working with or have work commissioned by have all been really good at getting back to me and giving me feedback and also seemed really genuinely interested in and passionate about it. So it’s not your typical very work-centric, very formal kind of thing. This is art that I’m interested in, Asian-Canadian media neuro-divergent art stuff…
But I guess that’s one thing I’m still navigating, you know, that process. I think things have definitely improved. Like if this was the winter, and if I was still really in my depressive state and I hadn’t seen friends and I didn’t have therapy and I wasn’t in an art program, and it wasn’t sunny and nice outside, I think, like I would definitely, I don’t know, this would be a lot harder. So I’m really feeling the effects, just reflecting lately how much things have actually changed for me.
You know, it [my piece] is a critique of the minimalist, clean, aesthetic of, you know, studying and productivity and kind of putting into question, you know, “Why is that so homogenous, this idea of success?” Being, you know, like, “You’re working hard, you’re you don’t have any distractions the desk, it’s clean, get stuff done, you’ve been here for hours.” So, my work is a critique of that and showing like, well, this is the way that I work, and it is just as successful or just as efficient for me. This is my version of efficiency… There’s ideas that neuro-typical people and maybe just professors or teachers or anyone in your life might have. They see you fidgeting and they think you’re not paying attention. Or they see that you’ve gone on another website and you’re looking at something, and they think, you know, you’re not paying attention to this lecture here. But that can be a way of stimulating or a way of just putting your mind on something else for a second, so you can come back to what you’re doing. And I want to remove some of the negativity around that. Also, you know, it is harder for a lot of neuro-divergent people to get work done at the same pace as someone who doesn’t have those barriers. And I want to validate that and introduce how that happens.
I remember when I was in university, I asked someone for studying help. And I think I told them I have ADHD and that I was struggling with something and they’re very dismissive about it. She was like, oh yeah, a lot of people struggle with that. And I think like, well the difference is, as someone with this diagnosis, is this is not just a struggle. I can’t just watch a couple of videos and improve on it like anyone else. This is chronic. It is with me and I need to find my own creative ways to deal with that. I don’t trust a lot of your typical self-help resources because it’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I’m just going to feel like I am not doing anything right. I’ve already tried working on this. One example is being told to work on time management. What does time management look like when you experience time blindness?
Another thing that’s kind of funny is I had to move a lot of things around so that I could get the camera where I needed it to be. So my mess is shoved from one side of my room to the middle of my room. And a lot of clothes have fallen over. And, honestly, I was kind of like, “Oh, actually I wouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t getting paid for it.” To mess up my room that much but I’m getting paid for it so I actually don’t care. I will, but I’ll deal with that later.