Autism + Social Media

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A little background on the continuing project…

As you may know, April is Autism Awareness Month. Since someone very dear to me was diagnosed with mild autism, I’ve done a lot of reading, watching, listening, and contemplating about what autism is, and how it is identified. One of the main characteristics of almost everyone on the spectrum is difficulty communicating with others. Common struggles include writing (holding a pencil can be a challenge), being able to process and respond to conversational cues in a timely way, reading non-verbal cues, and maintaining eye contact.

 

It occurred to me that much of the social media we use gets around these stumbling blocks. We use keyboards instead of pencils, can take our time responding to others in virtual “conversations,” don’t need to read non-verbal cues (unless emoticons count!), and with the majority of venues, don’t have any eye contact to worry about. (Do you ever really look someone in the eye on Skype?) Our social media is, …well… a little autistic.

 

The Project…

Starting April, 2014, I began a series of artworks that examine the autistic-like characteristics of popular social media. The first series involves the lack of eye contact inherent in many social media venues.

 

The Collaboration…

A key element of this project is that source material be gathered through social media. I requested that Facebook friends and website browsers send me digital photos of themselves. I manipulated these slightly, cropping to use just the eyes as a basis for the work.

(To see the latest work from this project, see “New Work.”)

 

example

example

cropped image

cropped image

 

 

 

preliminary sketch

preliminary sketch

 

 

 

 

A BIG thank you to all who participated!!!

Deadline for submissions:

Eye Contact Series (working title)       Wednesday, April 9th (passed)

 

Check out my progress and let me know what you think by following my blog.

 

Fine Print Regarding Photo Submissions…

Once you send your photo, you give me permission to use it to create an original work of art as I have described. You are volunteering to collaborate with the project as a subject, and have my deepest thanks! I may not be able to use your photo if I receive too many, or it doesn’t meet the criteria (such as being blurry). You do not have part ownership of the finished work, but I will do my best to keep you informed of my progress and will post photos of finished pieces.

 

 

 

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