Savant Syndrome is an extremely rare occurrence, and one aspect of the condition can be a spectacular memory recall ability that appears to include elements of the innate, not easily explainable. The phenomenon defies traditional explanation since it falls more clearly in the grey zone of the paranormal or even supra-normal where the individual is operating on a different plane not easily accessible.
All people diagnosed with Savant Syndrome have fantastic memory, yet a memory whose zone of focus is in one given area. Whether this is due to the absence or neglect of the contextual in the brains function is a subject of research, however the application of memory is beyond what could be termed merely photographic since the scope and breadth of detail is too profound and intricate. Savant Syndrome is also referred to as ”Rain Man” syndrome based on the portrayal of the condition by Dustin Hoffman in the role of Raymond Babbitt in the film Rain Man in 1988.
Savant Syndrome is characterized by a left brain dysfunction or deficit with a compensation on the right hemisphere of the brain.” And yet there is a limitation. This is a deep well of creativity to be sure, but a narrow one. this is not a criticism, as the best art is often narrow in range and in technique. However artists of the past two centuries typically like to widen their range of topics and change their techniques. Autistic artists… go against this trend….is deepening his interest and he is perfecting his technique. If there is a limitation it is a great advantage too. It is exactly the combination of passion bordering on obsession with the practice of a superior technique that allows creative imagination to grow.”
Stephen Wiltshire is a British artist diagnosed with autism from the age of three. His memory capacity to draw large scale architectural series with perfect perspective has proven to be a conundrum for neurological researches to fully grasp. Wiltshire has painted cityscapes of central London and Rome with exacting detail after only a cursory helicopter trip over the subject matter.His literal renditions of any building no matter how complex or detailed poses no challenge to what appears like an inner ”tuning” to detail. He is a prodigy whose genius defies academic thinking based on historical knowledge. Wiltshire has a complex apprehension of life, achieved without surrendering a very pristine innocence and seems to avoid succumbing to expectations or internalizing the sentiment of being somewhat ”eccentric” . Wiltshire’s serenity and lack of aggresiveness could almost be qualified as a deeply anchored spirituality.