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[Xmca-l] Re: And an awesome autistic artistic savant
Yes David, the documentary for me thinking about vygotskys writings on eidetic memory. I remember coming across it in a chapter on adolescence in vygotskys collected works, but I had a difficult time making head or tail of it since I had been introduced to Vygotsky as a champion of the critical importance of language for thought. Maybe you can help me understand better about what Vygotsky was talking about with this idea of the importance of eidetic memory in adolescence?
Is language involved at all in this development, or, like Wiltshire, is language an impediment to eidetic memory (while at the same time being a boon to other forms of memory, not to mention the social communicative boon).
Sent from my iPhone
> On Aug 6, 2014, at 2:22 AM, David Kellogg <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Stephen Wiltshire has a frontispiece and a long footnote in our Korean
> translation of HDHMF (the chapter on memory, of course--we use him to
> explain what an eidetic memory is). Because the documentary on Stephen is
> so relentlessly insistent on Stephen Wiltshire's "unique" gifts, it tends
> to demphasize the memory component of it (a literal memory IS actually
> quite common in autistic people). It also tends to play down what are
> clearly some very serious speech problems (Stephen's apparent inability to
> complete sentence unless he's heard it before and also his apparent
> inability to understand abstract concepts like "famous", not to mention the
> terrible moment where he explains to the man who designed the Gherkin that
> this is a famous building which is found in London, even though they are
> standing in front of a window through which the building is clearly
> I think the most touching, and also psychologically perspicacious, moment
> in the documentary film is where his former teacher says she doesn't really
> know which is most wonderful to her--Stephen's ability to draw or his
> newfound ability to do things like buy a sandwich and even take the subway
> by himself. After a moment of reflection, his teacher says: "the latter".
> Of course, that's not the view of the documentary writers, but they are in
> the business of glorifying his marketable skills.
> When I first went to China, food was priced by the ingredients, not the
> labour. But art objects were often priced by labour, measured in hours put
> in: the buyer would have to judge these by the amount of detail. I'm not
> very susceptible to the romantic view of art production (it seems quite
> close to the documentary's insistence of the uniqueness of art potentials,
> and I really prefer to think of them as ubiquitous, or at least universally
> available). But I do something find something hard and horrible about the
> gruelling detail of Wiltshire's work. I think it is the lack of
> abstraction; the inability to "fuzz out". Even the distance of the horizon
> is a rather literal reproduction of what the eye saw.
> Tomorrow I have to give a half hour speech on the Sewol disaster in Korean,
> and I have given up trying to memorize every word; I think I shall just do
> what normal psychologies do naturally and riff on the slides.
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> By the way at the end of last month he did a panorama of Singapore that is
> even more impressive, because unlike London, he hasn't lived there all his
>> On 4 August 2014 03:40, mike cole <email@example.com> wrote:
>> Yep that is awesome, Greg.
>> On Sun, Aug 3, 2014 at 9:33 AM, Greg Thompson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>> Stephen Wiltshire is an autistic artistic savant. He was mute until age 5
>>> and used drawing as a way of communicating before he was able to speak.
>>> Here is a short video (apologies for the commercial nature of it - stop
>>> video at 3:19 to avoid the commercial!)
>>> And here is a longer (35 min) documentary about when his life:
>>> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
>>> Assistant Professor
>>> Department of Anthropology
>>> 883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
>>> Brigham Young University
>>> Provo, UT 84602