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Harrison Halker Heinks: The Visual Voice of Autism

Virtual Reality Tour

Photography captures not just the moment but the raw emotion that emanates from it” 

— Harrison Halker Heinks

Minnesota artist Harrison Halker Heinks examines reflective surfaces in his photography. By capturing multiple planes with one image, Heinks builds an experience where viewers can simultaneously look through, at, and in front of the subject. Uniting a single image from several layers evokes emotion with Heinks who intends to express how it feels to live with autism. “In my artwork, the things behind the reflection are my representation of the ordinary world; I live in the glass, being caught in another plane that runs parallel to the world in which everyone else lives.” By including self-portraits in some of his work, Heinks is motivated “to show how I sometimes see myself as in between reality and being overlooked by society.” Through his work, his voice emerges: “There is more to people with disabilities than what is on the surface.” In several underwater shots, Heinks takes this sentiment literally, diving beneath the surface to photograph both himself and others. According to Heinks, the results represent “seeing the world through a distorted and out of focus lens.” Ultimately, The Visual Voice of Autism connects to neurotypical viewers by creating an understanding of what it feels like to be living with autism.


Harrison Halker Heinks is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist who happens to have autism. His list of accolades includes multiple MN State Fair Blue Ribbons, two-time National Scholastic Gold Medal Winner, and a VSA Emerging Young Artists grant recipient from the Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability Program and the Jerome Foundation.

Halker Heinks' Website

This virtual reality tour was produced by Fulcrum Visions. 

Fulcrum visions is a video engineering organization in Duluth created by John Saaristo. Saaristo works with businesses to make technology less intimidating and provide services such as 3D scanning spaces to provide virtual tours. Saaristo connected with this project on a profound personal level, as his son, Lucas, is on the Autism spectrum. Capturing the space was an experience close to his heart and he wanted to do it for other kids just like Lucas and their families. 


Virtual Exhibition

Emerging artists highlight issues that merit notice. Soon you will see the impact students make using art. The DAI virtual student exhibition is an online art show featuring eight students attending the University of Minnesota-Duluth, the University of Wisconsin-Superior, and Northland College.

Featuring the artwork of: 

Maren Friemann, Whitley Greysmark, Tyler Wren, Deborah May, Grace Bauman, Evaline Britton, Cait Lars, and Mihika Murdeshwar.

Best when viewed on a tablet or computer.

Click here to open in the Google Slides app on a mobile device.




  The Duluth Art Institute's programs and services are made possible in part through the support of the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation by the State Legislature from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2018.

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