Venessa Monokian
When I entered school, I quickly realized that my interaction with text was far more difficult than that of an average student. I would not only write my letter characters backward, but I would also write from the bottom right hand side of my page to the top left. My mother would be forced to hold my encrypted codes up to a mirror to decipher the content and meaning that they held. I was tested and labeled Learning Disabled, at which point I entered into special classes. These classes were meant to teach one how to compensate for their disorder. It was never clearly explained what my disorder was or what tendencies I had due to this condition. Being only six, I lacked the maturity and skills to research and educate myself on this topic. Once I did reach such a stage of development, I found that many factors contributed to my difficulties. There is no defined black and white set of criteria that I can match myself against. As I look into other learning disabilities such as Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, and Dysgraphia, I found a similar lack of information.

Knowing that a traditional course of research would bear very little clarity for me, I turned to art making. I was compelled to create a variety of work, motivated by my longing to understand how we learn and how we are taught, knowing that integration of the two does not always occur in real life. My work is an investigation of academia, and of the educational environment. The point of departure is my own personal experience with academia, which has been less than fulfilling. As the investigation into this subject matter progresses I have found that it has evolved from a personal critique of my own learning methods to an active inquiry into the the process of learning and understanding.

Photograph courtesy of Paula Pogranizky