"Minds, Minds Can Coexist:" Introducing Michael Engebretson
For the first time ever, Interact is thrilled to share the visual art of performing arts cast member Michael Engebretson. Michael made his Interact debut as "Snout" in our 2016 production, What Fools These Mortals Be, bringing undeniable energy and dedication to the role. Also a visual artist, he carries a sketchbook everywhere, filling the pages with ballpoint pen drawings that he later embellishes with watercolor. You can find his collection of available work here.
Michael's work maps an intricate future existence beyond Earth, where inhabitants travel through galaxies by spaceship and live on distant moons. The residents of this intergalactic civilization are hybrid beings. Embracing their human, cyborg, and extraterrestrial qualities, they develop more equitable healthcare systems and renewable energy sources. “Their society is far more advanced than us,” says Michael.
An avid autism advocate, Michael would like viewers of his work to understand how, as he says, “the autistic mind operates.” He describes the way that his brain works as “just like a cyborg: part human, and part machine,” and he hopes that his work will help people to understand the vitality of neurodiversity. “Minds, minds can coexist,” he says. “Can can coexist with other people, with everybody. Isn’t that awesome?”
Video description: A recorded interview between artist Michael Engebretson and Gallery Director Brittany Kieler.
Abridged video transcript:
(Brittany) I’m curious if there’s anything that you want viewers to think about or feel when they see your work?
(Michael) I would like the viewers to understand how the autistic mind operates, and how it runs and operates. And how we’re all related with one another.
(Brittany) Did you say how the ‘artistic’ mind operates?
(Michael) Autistic mind, and artistic mind, too.
(Brittany) Autistic and artistic.
(Michael) Minds, minds can coexist, can coexist with other people, with everybody. Isn’t that awesome?