Friday, November 12, 2010

Fantastic Sensory Spaces / Review

Found this review tonite on the blog The Beaker Kids, with a title so appropriate I wish I wrote it myself:

Fantastic Sensory Spaces #2 : ECHOLILIA

Timothy Archibald's haunting photography of his son creates fantastic sensory spaces for our imagination.
Archibald's lastest book, Echolilia, is a play on a word often heard in Autism circles: echolalia, the mockingbird speech that substitutes for original language --"What ice cream do you want?" "What ice cream do you want?"

As an artist, Archibald easily slips into that half-world of alternate reality --the space between the echos-- appreciating and documenting where vacuum hoses are likely telephones and metal trash bins are ironic space helmets incapable of protecting us from loud alien appliances.

The photography became a mode of communication between father and son: ecolilia, Archibald's play on the word:

Around the time Elijah turn 5 we started making photographs together. I’d kind of initiate it with some direction, he’d do something that seemed unexpected…something I’d never have been able to think of…we’d look at the images together on the digital camera and try to refine them…try to improve them, try to take them in other directions. The idea of turning the creative control over to a child, while I operated the camera, allowed me to make images that seemed to have this sense of discovery to me. There was also alot going on at the time with Elijah…behavior things that we couldn’t make sense of.

"Play" is the operative word, because even though much of Archibald's work appears somber and dreamy, this is exactly the kind of play enjoyed by many kids with heightened sensory perception. By incorporating Elijah's self-chosen scanned images of himself and everyday ephemera, the collaboration becomes a high-concept floortime "circle of communication" exercise.

Archibald and his son capture the visual vocabulary of spectrum life. I've always felt autism's gift was the redefinition of language, and I've never seen if so beautifully expressed than here.

Visit The Beaker Kids HERE.

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