Alistair Baldwin - Inward

Arts Access Victoria presents The Museum of Us

Through thinking, Alistair would create and dissolve many realities. Now that 'normal' life has changed for the world, he has become an online guru for living 'inward'.

A close-up photo of a caucasian man’s slightly smiling face. He has a large smear of zinc sunblock cream across his nose and cheeks, and he has a cropped, light beard of brown hair. He is wearing a hat and a blue shirt, and posing in front of a brick wall and window, holding two fingers up in a ‘peace sign’ gesture
As the bell curve of what humanity considered ‘liveable’ began buckling quicker and quicker under reality’s heft, people sought my counsel on how best to maximise their interiority.

They knew this much about my life: my body (hypotonic as it came out of mum) always craved stillness, while my mind would eat itself if it was kept on a leash.

Every day after school I would crash on my bed, moth-eaten limbs finally let limp after a day performing contractions. But within that warm rag doll, my brain scratched at the inside of my skull, wanting to be let out.

Tectonic friction ripped open one route of escape: inward. I would think and think and think.

Through thinking I would create and dissolve many realities. My brain would analyse these realities as if they weren’t also borne of the brain.

I learned how to get lost in mazes I’d drawn. It’s where the writing began, but that’s really just a symptom. In order to entertain myself within an exhausted body, I smashed open dams regulating the flow of imagination; I began swimming upstream like a salmon.

One day, when I was 13, I actually became a salmon. I became almost any metaphor I thought of. Words led to realities led to words like ambling garden paths. In a way, then, it’s not surprising that I was approached as a sage when the exterior world became untenable. Many of us were.

Disabled folks. I wasn’t the only one of us who’d knocked down the walls and created an open plan brain to explore when our tanks ran on empty. We began sharing our interior design tips online.

I was like all five Queer Eye hosts in one, dispensing sound-biteable wisdom on making over mental catacombs. I gained many followers on social media.

Total strangers began telling me the most intimate things, paths I’d unveiled that had been private to all – private even from their own consciousness, back when things were normal.

It’s not that physical space lost its importance. Its importance was merely diluted. New cities were built in the comments of my Instagram. They were towering, immortal, and liveable.

When I was about 10, I wondered if I was the only one who had to do this. Ha! How things have changed. Now we all have to.

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