Visual perception in Rett syndrome a cartographic exploration

Macro and Micro – two video maps that invite the viewer to experience the realm of visual perception of people diagnosed with Rett syndrome.

This cartography experiment constitutes a significant stage in the design process of Transverse, a project focused on people with severe mental or physical disabilities which was inspired by Rett syndrome, a severe neurological disorder that affects motor, cognitive and speech functions (among others). Since Transverse’s key feature is the creation of a dialogic environment, it is crucial to be familiar with the myriad of aspects that define the perceptional experience of people diagnosed with Rett syndrome.

Therefore, Macro and Micro are an exercice on imagining ourselves in someone else’s shoes. What do they see, how do they see it, what do they feel about what they see? How can visual perception experience be mapped?

Macro maps the experience during the syndrome’s four-stage evolution process, whereas Micro zooms in on one of the evolution stages.

The concept that guided this cartographic process is a fundamental aspect of Rett syndrome: rhythm. People diagnosed with Rett syndrome are described as rhythmic – on the one hand, due to their particular pace and body movements; on the other hand, because they are very drawn to music and rhythm.

That is why both maps were made as videos: in order to better convey rhythm and the complexity of the syndrome’s symptoms. Instead of seeing a static map, where all the information is presented at once, a video map presents fleeting information that leaves singular impressions.