Allison Leigh Holt, A Living Model of Hyperbolic Space, 2017 / 2020, Glass, water, steel, neodymium magnets, mirrored acrylic, Parmotrema Perlatum lichen, Dimensions variable
Click the button below for the audio and text of the VISUAL DESCRIPTION for Allison Leigh Holt’s A Living Model of Hyperbolic Space:
Allison Leigh Holt (b. 1972) (she/hers) is a neurodivergent artist, scholar, and teacher living and working in Northern California. Her multidisciplinary research-based work uses techniques of expanded cinema and the Light and Space Movement to model divergent ways of sensing, processing, and exchanging information. Holt also teaches experimental video to autistic teens and adults both in groups and one-on-one, using a pedagogy that she calls Neurodivergent Media.
The water-filled glass spheres in A Living Model of Hyperbolic Space are intended as scaled-up water droplets, like those of morning dew, clouds, and the water in the air we breathe. Water’s refractive properties act as a lens, magnifying what lies behind it while projecting the image of what lies before it. As Holt writes, “The frilly, crenellated form of Parmotrema lichen is a natural example of the true shape of the space in which we find ourselves, so-called hyperbolic space. The shortest distance between two points, therefore, is never a straight line, but rather, a curved one. From a young age, Westerners learn to live within Euclidean city grids, and to extend that order to the not-quite-fixed world of natural forms and systems, into their worldviews.” The work invites us to defamiliarize our sense of scale and positionality relative to the natural world, and in so doing, recast our understanding of our place in it.
For Chapter 7 of Indisposable: Structures of Support after the ADA, Holt created an experimental documentary entitled Stitching the Future with Clues. In it, Holt looks at neurodivergence as another way of knowing, through a cybernetic lens. Combining animated diagrams, video, audio feedback processes, and expanded media techniques, Stitching the Future with Clues draws from Holt’s article “The Conversation: Feedback Structures, Ways of Knowing, and Neurodivergence” (PUBLIC #59) to ask us to consider feedback systems as a medium for understanding the sensing, processing, and exchanging of information happening not just in human minds and brains, but within and between all scales of intelligent life. This film explores the post-humanist sense-making of neurodivergence: differently attuned to temporal, psychic, and environmental embodied experience.
Instagram: @oillyoowen @neurodivergentmedia