Art as Assistive Technology


by Norman. G DeLisle, MATP Staff Member

MDRC staff do a presentation on AT to support cognitive activities, and one of the most colorful doodles with Be Creative and colored pencilscommon statements about the presentation by participants is, “I didn’t realize how much I was using technology to support my own cognition”.

Apropos of that sentiment, I saw an article the other day about a deaf artist who was creating art using sound (see Deaf Artist Christine Sun Kim Is Reinventing Sound), and it got me to thinking about the role of art in supporting cognition, perception, and emotional experience that is beyond what we currently accept as our personal world. This artist was creating sound pieces that altered the interpretation of her audience about all sound, and was doing so by breaking the boundaries of what (shall I say?) “percepto-typicals” think sound can actually mean, or what it is for.

woman amputee with long organe Queen Ann stlye table legs DancingArt, whether visual, audio, tactile, performance, or whatever, has always been about supporting new ways of experiencing meaning. Since meaning is the basic stuff of life, the context of our human experience, in much the same way that water is for fish, we need it to reach out from where we are to some place we have never been before. If independence and autonomy are partly about the expansion of what reality means to us, then art is Assistive Technology, and the experience of art, as well as its creation, should be a centerpiece in the whole idea of advocating for accommodations to build fulfilling, autonomous lives.

In this new, probably very scary and exciting year of 2016, go out, create, and enjoy new meaning through art!


What do you think? Let us know!