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An involuntary act such as sleepwalking that is performed in a state of unconsciousness. The subject does not act voluntarily and is not fully aware of his or her actions while in a state of automatism. Automatism has been used as a defense to show that a defendant lacked the requisite mental state for the commission of a crime. A defense based on automatism asserts that there was no act in the legal sense because at the time of the alleged crime, the defendant had no psychic awareness or volition. Some American jurisdictions have recognized automatism as a complete, Affirmative Defense to most criminal charges. An Insanity Defense, by comparison, asserts that the accused possessed psychic awareness or volition, but at the time of the offense, the accused possessed a mental disorder or defect that caused them to commit the offense or prevented them from understanding the wrongness of the offense.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
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During this period, he became acquainted with their automatist techniques which, both in poetry and painting, are based on the free association of images and ideas.
(1) "Borduas and the Automatist Epic" opened at the Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal on May 9, 1998 and remains on view through November 29.
Although Jamie has long insisted that his "drawings have always been rendered automatically," his reliance on procedures of layering and erasure marks his distance from the automatist legacy of Surrealism, a movement toward which he expresses a certain aversion, although that has not stopped critics from interpreting his latest work through this lens.
While Myers thought that the medium could produce veridical information unknown to her, he did not think it possible for a medium to produce "mathematical formulae or Chinese sentences, if the automatist is ignorant of mathematics or of Chinese" (Vol.
This part of the show concluded with a concise selection of automatist works by Surrealists Robert Desnos, Andre Masson, Yves Tanguy, and Breton's paramour and muse Nadia.
That is not to say that Masson's early works, such as Le Reve du prisonnier (The Dream of the reisoner), 1924, solely manifest the automatist methods of the day; quite to the contrary, the painting is sober, self-consciously hieratic, with a sibylline mixture of allegorical figure, disdain for color, and a studious synthetic cubism (a mode the Surrealists were at pains to overthrow for its by-then marked aestheticism and decorative complacency).
In the 1990s, this practice was reflexively attuned to the institutional context (Fred Wilson, Mark Dion), but in the past decade it has taken a more automatist form, subordinating legible or didactic connections between works to the imperative of individual sensibility, as for example in Mark Wallinger's "The Russian Linesman" (2009), Vik Muniz's "Rebus" (2009), or Grayson Perry's phenomenally popular "The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman" (2011).
Resembling spectral visages materializing from smoke, these faces convey a sense of contingency that arises in part from the drawings' beginnings as automatist doodles.