The exhibition The Art Of Living in.adHD, by DeCarlo Maximus FitzGerald (or Reddee Hian), is a door not exactly to ADHD itself, but to a way of understanding the world, feeling it and expressing oneself under the influence of that mental condition. It opened on October 1st, in The 22 Art Space, in Bellisseria, and runs until January 20th, 2023 – and I have to underline it was totally produced by Randy Firebrand (in association with DeCarlo), since, for personal reasons, my presence in Second Life has been especially intermittent this year.
One of the particularly challenging traits in the realm of mental, psychological and neurological conditions is the fact that they are not as immediately evident as certain physical ones, but they can also be crucial to how people perceive the world and position themselves. Blindness and deafness, for example, affect how individuals receive inputs from the environment and deal with the reality around them. Schizophrenia, depression, disorders within the autism spectrum and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) do the same – but they are not always easily recognizable and understood.
People affected by blindness and deafness can certainly be victims of prejudice, condescension and lack of adaptation of social environments. Still, it is more or less acknowledged that they develop different strategies for both perceiving the world and acting in and on it. In many ways, though, mental conditions are invisible at first sight and people who have to deal with them are expected to behave and perform exactly like those who do not have to face anything like that.
It is enriching, then, when people are willing to open a door to communicate, to share with others, some insights on how ADHD can be felt and expressed by those who experience it. This is what DeCarlo does in The Art Of Living in.adHD. And he transforms his insights into artworks: photographs produced IRL, showing tiny characters such as a cardboard man or toy bears.
The images themselves are touching, moving. They don’t seem to carry a straightforward intention of translating ADHD to the general public, but rather to arouse sympathy, and I mean it in the original sense of the word, which comes from the idea of suffering or being affected together, by affinity (from the ancient greek συμπάθεια, or sumpátheia, or sympátheia). That is why I consider those works a door: they are not shouting at viewers the reality of ADHD (whatever that reality may be), which could be artistically significant too, but would be a totally different experience; instead, they seem to try to reach the public, to invite viewers to “come together” and cross between two worlds.
On a technical note, the images tend to have a very short focal point, which is normal when we are dealing with smaller objects but which also may be meaningful in relation to what ADHD causes. Furthermore, there are clever solutions to express some ideas. Finally, one of the pictures is a bit different from the others – and I will venture to say that it is not by chance that that image caught Diomita Maurer’s attention in her review of the exhibition.
I’ll finish this post by reminding readers that The Art Of Living in.adHD will run until January 20th, 2023, in The 22 Art Space, in Second Life. And also, that I didn’t leave SL, it is just that there’s a lot going on and it has been hard to organize my time – but, yeah, I’m still around!