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Dark Garden

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Dark Garden a widescreen, four 35mm projector,  projection work was originally developed as Dark Garden: Wired in a Different Way for the Norsk Teknisk Museum in Oslo in 2011 and was part of the exhibition 'Mind the Gap'. The work attempts to reflect on and explore the world of autism based on contemporary neuroscience and conversations with scientists who are trying to understand this complex field. 

Mind the Gap was an exhibition about brain research, curated by Henrick Treimo, Senior Curator at the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology (NTM), Oslo, Norway. One of the world's most renowned artists, Robert Wilson, founder of The Watermill Center: A Laboratory for Performance, designed the exhibition in collaboration with Professor Serge von Arx at the Academy at Østfold University College. Students at the academy helped with individual items. Dark Garden: Wired in a Different Way, was placed in the atrium space of the museum.

See more about the exhibition at Mind the Gap.


Later in 2012, Andrew developed a new audio work to accompany the piece in collaboration with sound artists Matt Grover and Steve Bailey, this piece was re-titled and this version of the work is known as Dark Garden: Heard with a Different Voice.


A third version, entitled Dark Garden: Told in a Different Way, includes extracts from interviews with Professor Francesca Happe and Dame Uta Frith (scientists working on autism) woven into a complex sound landscape, so the work reflects issues talked about by the scientists.


There is a critical Text: Pilgrimage; All true pilgrimages should end with a confrontation on the piece by Garry Kennard.

Dark Garden set up

Dark Garden: A Different View from a Medical Perspective

Autism spectrum disorders remain a mystery to the medical and scientific community, despite great advances being made over the years. Understanding an autistic patient represents a challenge that many health professionals take on every day,  to provide them with the help they truly need. But it is not only the medical community that has set out to understand autism; other communities, such as the artistic one, have also set out to do so. Dark Garden, by Andrew Carnie, is an example of this interpretation.

This artwork tries to reflect the mental state in which autistic patients find themselves in their daily lives. On one hand, many of the illustrations show the confusion that these patients often feel, entering a state that overwhelms them and makes them isolate themselves from the world to enter one where they can feel safe. On another hand, these same illustrations could make us understand the unique way these individuals have of seeing the world, a way that for us, could be considered very disorganized.

In addition, illustrations made through in-depth imaging studies perfectly show the neural network of these patients and the amount of information they can handle at the same time. If understanding the human brain in non-pathological conditions is often an enigma, understanding the complexity of what goes on in the minds of autistic people is a much greater challenge.

Undoubtedly, Dark Garden is a work of art that brings us closer to understanding the mental state of autistic patients and to considering their lifestyle not as something different from the one of non-autistic people, but as a different and special vision of life. A vision that, although it might be disorganized at the beginning, can make sense as long as the necessary help is provided to these patients, bringing them closer to a more normal way of living.

Stefano Augusto Pizzo Gandino M.D