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Questions sent prior to the event

Our questions:
Dear Tito,
as the time nears for our encounter, we have put together a few comments/questions and videos. As you know, we read your book Plankton Dreams in the round yesterday and today, and read Ralph’s piece on Larry the day before. Many at the SenseLab are quite neurodiverse (so don’t expect a special ed atmosphere!).

Hi Tito and welcome!

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his notebook that “in good writing, words must become one with things.” To me, your writing does this, powerfully. I’m wondering: when you’re in the process of writing, do you feel your body become one with the things you are writing about? If yes, can you say more about how? Put another way: as a writer, how do you ‘roll around’ in the field and become one with a word’s thingness?

Many thanks,
(who likes her head touched)


From Tito:

Thank you – nothing of that sort happens. I think about the situation. 
I think about the words and in that process sometimes I hang like a ceiling fan and other times I am the rain washed branch, perhaps the egg or maybe the exploding clock of Salvador Dali. 

I will forward these to you as I receive them.
From LP:
I’m curious about your photography/poetry practice.
In my own photography practice I try to take photos not to capture events, but to find smaller details that spill out from that which may not have been noticed or differentiated in the surplus over-full sensory information of the event, in its immediate unfolding. The limited sensory range of ‘neurotypicals’ miss a lot of the details, so a camera helps us find some. At the same time I personally use the process of taking a photo (looking through the viewfinder, selecting an image within it, and taking a photo) as a way to kind of create a chunking out of the larger and over-full movements of the space or event I am engaging with. I use it to calm my anxiety or literally and figuratively introduce a kind of focal length to my perceptual experience, so that I actually can ‘see’ something a bit better, rather than get lost in the surplus of everything i see/hear/touch/smell (etc) in the event. I use it to kind of fold a corner on the top of a page. it also helps me slow things down. it helps me differentiate one moment from the next, and also let go of that which has just passed (in the more linear sense of time) so that I can maybe see/feel something that is just now becoming, without feeling too overwhelmed by all the middleness of past/present/future all happening now now now in surplus surplus surplus. Things get blurry – but if I take photos I’m able to kind of index moments with a linearity I might not exactly feel with my body, but the camera device makes felt.
Does this strike any chords with you?
From Erin:
Reading your work over many years I have often thought about the way complexity coexists with a certain taking-form: there is a quality of lived expression, of a process writing itself into form, a form that still manages to resist complete capture. A linguistic practice such as poetry or prose-poetry dances at the fine balance between what I think of as the “force” of form, and form.  My sense is that, in your work, abstraction is entwined with the most concrete of lived experience. What is so strong about your writing is, I think, the fact that you nowhere bring in a dichotomy between the abstract and the concrete. And yet, in your recent piece on abstract art, you bring in this distinction between the abstract and the concrete. It strikes me, as an artist, that all modes of experience have histories of abstraction and concreteness. You have allied yourself to this complexity in poetry, and yet it disorients you in art. I am aware that this is in large part because of the way vision works for you. But I am also wondering how much it has to do with different codes of abstraction. Do you concede that the history of your particular encounter with art could have an effect on your experience of “abstract” art (which, for many of us, is more “concrete” than much representational art?).
From Brian:
Some neurotypicals feel limited by neurotypical behavior, and feel that they lose something by the rules of behavior and codes of perception and self-expression that it imposes. This sometimes takes the relatively benign form of feeling that life is made to be less intense and surprising, and a yearning for it to be re-enlivened. But it may also take relatively debilitating forms such as depression, anxiety disorder, and social phobia. Do you have any advice to people who feel they are or can be neurotypical but would like to connect to the parts of themselves that they feel are being limited, so that they can give expression to a certain neurodiversity within?
From Céline:
What would be your ideal space?
From Csenge and Leslie (text and video)
In the run-up to the neurodiversity event, we wanted to kick-start a collective photography practice through 2 key propositions. Collectivity is at the heart of this, and we would like to encourage an engagement well in advance of the neurodiversity event, so that we may have more space to move with whatever potentialities this practice might generate.
In the past few anarchiving sessions, Polaroids have invented their own techniques for encountering, and on a more-than-human scale. While camera phones have a particularly habitualized rhythm to them – veering easily into the realm of instant capture – it seemed that Polaroids express fugitive tendencies (across the selection and the duration of their development) and have the capacity to unsettle many of the assumptions of what a photograph captures, and what that experience could create. The abundant tactility and limitations of the photographic device and process re-orient the experience of photography just enough to foreground new potentialities for what a photography practice can activate, in relation to some of the key questions coming out of the neurodiversity event.
We would like to invite everyone to participate in a double proposition. With the Polaroid camera that is now at SenseLab
1. take one polaroid picture, while sharing an encounter with the Senselab space, and leave it there. This “one” could be a one photo per person, or ‘one’ taken across different days, should there be a ‘pull’ from a persisting encounter.
2. record a video (inclusive of the immediate soundscape) of the polaroid picture as it is developing, and share it on the hub or via dropbox. You may use a smartphone or any other video-recording device, to do this – and if you lack one, there will likely be someone else in the space whose phone you can borrow : )
Tito’s Answers:
For Celine –
Still pictures do me me most favour. I can get time for the details as the visual components move in my eyes.
Then they grow the story. The picture of Churchill will always talk out -‘I like pigs. A dog will look up to me. Cat will look down at me. Pig will treat me as equal.’
Movies don’t unless it is a monologue type documentary which I enjoy.
As per your question Ms. Erin – prose or poetry is not visual and so abstract can merge with concrete easily. Modern abstract art is visual and there comes the conflict between the two primary senses – vision verses auditory.
Like the word ‘rose’ will have a hundred ideas of rose- ness compared to the image of a solitary pink rose. The strength of auditory word will outsway the power of an image.
Can I hear that painting? Can I feel the redness? I have to rely on the caption – the language to grow my understanding.
About the first question whether neurotypicals miss out details – I do not know. I don’t even know how another fellow autistic person senses – what is hyper seen by him, what is hypo seen by someone else becomes individualized. So I don’t know.
For Brian – I wonder whether comparing an apple behaviour to an orange behaviour will create any kind of solution. Converting an apple to an orange is a genetic assignment. At the core level there is just bones and blood. At the higher level there is just either / or judgement of behaviour. And at totally different level there is the oxidation unto dust. If not total oxidised, we can liquefy into petroleum as per science.
It all depends on which we choose to see.
Then there is the shadow and the being level of seeing . The level that I see is the shadow level where all shadows – black, white and me have the same property.
Being limited and understanding the limits makes one human. And shadows are the perfect limits for a ‘Flatlander.’