Brain Collage

Below is a collage that I assembled from childhood photos, photos I took during my quest to discover who my older autistic brother is, and a rubber brain – the thing that looks like a wrinkly tush.

Brain Collage - with old photographs

A collage should have meaning even if the viewer isn’t privy to the exact references the artist had in mind.

In one sense, this made-up picture is analogous to the one I took of Mike the first time I saw him in his day program. In the above collage, all the images floating above my scalp are assigned meaning from the gnarly lump of wet-ware underneath my skull.

Directly above the interhemispheric fissure, is me behind my camera. I’m probably about 8 years old. I didn’t know it then, but that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship with my camera, which helped me to see my world.

The upper left-hand picture is Mike and me. I’m less than 4 years old here. Directly to the right of this picture is Dad taking a picture of me. I have not written much about Dad yet. There is an eye looking out to the left and below Dad.

Continuing in a clock-wise manner, we encounter the other eye looking at us. This eye was photographed at Mike’s 40th birthday party. It took me by surprise, since most of the time I spent with my older brother was accompanied by almost complete inattention. This eye was totally attentive.

At one o’clock is an important picture. I think I captured Michael when he was sad. Before that, it was not clear to me what or if he felt. Mike is nonverbal and very low functioning, so until the time of this picture I did not know if he felt emotions.

At about three o’clock is pumpkin-head Mom. This photo was taken in the era of refrigerator mothers. I can’t help thinking that Mom might have had at least a fleeting feeling that she was responsible for Mike’s autism, even though she denied it.

Mom was sitting on the porch with Dad. The three of us kids had pumpkins on the porch. You can see the three pumpkins in a previous post.It was decades later before I realized that I was the middle pumpkin.

I hope the collage has meaning beyond my specific references. If it does, it is successful.

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