here I’m going to talk about the microsoft lecture
here i’m going to talk about being a naked truth panelist
Please join the Transdisciplinary Disability Studies Reading Group for an event on Friday, May 12th at noon. We will review and comment on a new, unpublished paper by Louise Hickman and David Serlin, Towards a Crip Methodology for Critical DisabilityStudies, with Yelena Gluzman as conversant.
If you plan to attend, please email Cassandra Hartblay or Louise Hickman for a copy of the draft to review. You may also direct accessibility requests to Cassandra Hartblay.
Light refreshments will be served.
Location: Price Center West – Thurgood Marshall College Room. This room is down a hallway not far from the indoor entrance to The Loft (come in by the bookstore or on the ground floor and take the elevator up one floor and get off near the Cross Cultural Center).
Short summary: This post summarizes how to document performances that relate to disability in the Emergency Index during the year 2015.
In Emergency Index Vol. 3 (2013) there are five performances indexed under Disability. The index is an ongoing project dedicated to documenting performances annually with both a photographic image and visual description as composed by the artists themselves. This is an index, as Yelena Gluzman (editor) writes where: “each performances receives equal space, and, as editors, we do not distinguish between them.” The non-curatorial approach as taken by the Index team reveals the importance of how performers describe their own work. The performance is thus contextualized by the maker of the piece, who determines the outcome of how a descriptive text is written. This is useful for artists and makers who prioritize visual description as a means of access for their readers.
The five performances indexed under the subheading of disability:
Nevada (k. m. mustatea)
A Fierce Kind of Love (Suli Holum and David Bradley)
Salamander (The Olimpas, Petra Kuppers and Neil Marcus)
Consulado Movil/Mobile Consulate (Omar Pimienta)
Long Departed (Irene Loughlin)
Emergency Index is a compendium of performances that is published once a year. The next volume will index performances made in 2015. If you made a performance in 2015 that you would like to document in this way, see this year’s call here (Deadline January 30th):
Once again the Index team is opening up their call for performances that took place during the year 2015. The non-curatorial approach as taken by the Index team reveals the importance of how performers describe their own work. I invite people to work alongside this team to increase the presence of work produced by disabled artists, and works that are generated around the theme of disability. Please share this opportunity widely to ensure that the Index represents a diverse range of work. The deadline for submissions of performance work is January 15th, 2016.
Further information is stated below:
Emergency INDEX is an annual 500+page volume documenting hundreds of performance works from all over the world and from genres as diverse as dance, game studies, visual art, music, poetry, activism, advertising, medical and scientific research, philosophy, theater, translation, therapy, data visualization, disability studies, community art and many more. Every year, Emergency INDEX invites authors (artists, researchers, advertisers, activists, etc.) to document performances they made in the previous year, and asks them to document the work in their own words. By including performances regardless of their country of origin, their genre, aims, or popularity, INDEX is the only print publication of its kind, revealing a breathtaking variety of practices used in performance as it actually exists today. Submissions are now open for the third volume, documenting works made in 2013. Look at the website for examples from previous volumes and for information on how to submit:
Please find this call for contributions from Eva Egermann, who is currently based at UC Berkeley for a research project.
Crip Magazine began in 2012 as a self-published art-zine and collection of materials on crip issues, art, culture and representation contradicting categories of normal/abnormal. The first number featured various articles and interviews as on radical crip movements, an anarchist outcast night as well as subcultural, left and queer contexts of disability, experimental texts like an extra-terrestrial song text, eccentric pieces of writing, cosmic creatures or uncanny imaginaries on feeling bad.
The idea that “writing” is a “technology of cyborgs,” was taken up in the magazine. As Donna Haraway puts it in the “Cyborg Manifesto,” cyborgs struggle with perfect communication, the one “code” that translates and transmits all meaning perfectly. This is why cyborgs insist on noise and demand pollution. Noise Publishing.
The upcoming issue will be a collection of all possible kinds of crip materials (e.g.images and artworks, essays, interviews, short stories, etc. etc.) We encourage contributions that focus on crip pop culture, art, radical social movements or deal with pain/suffering and works that open up a transformative perspective on body issues and bodily relations.
The magazine will be bilingual (English/German) and visual or artistic contributions are especially welcome. For accessibility, visual contributions should include audio descriptions. Works can be sent in a format (A4 or US letter format) or as raw texts or image files. Please send your proposal until 30 November (final contributions are due by 30 December).
Note on accessibility: Crip Magazine progresses in process. We offer audio descriptions as well as various formats that can be read by e.g. Speech software. The magazine will be available online and can be downloaded free of charge.
I have been kindly invited by the Emergency INDEX team, a group of collaborators working to index performances on an annual basis, to expand the presence of disability and related themes into the Index’s repertoire of documented performances. As a contributing editor for this upcoming edition, I am working towards increasing the visibility of artworks produced both by disabled artists and works that are generated around themes of disability within this particular anthology.
I own both the 2011 and 2012 editions of the Emergency Index anthologies – it is an impressive compendium of works. I greatly encourage all members to submit works for their upcoming edition. Please share this opportunity widely to ensure that the Index represents a diverse range of work. Please feel free to contact me for further information for this exciting opportunity.
Please note that the deadline for submissions of performance work closes on January 15th, 2014. Share widely and apply today! Further information is stated below:
Emergency Index is an annual 500+ page volume documenting hundreds of performance works from all over the world and from genres as diverse as dance, game studies, visual art, music, poetry, activism, advertising, medical and scientific research, philosophy, theater, translation, therapy, data visualization, disability studies, community art and many more. Every year, Emergency INDEX invites authors (artists, researchers, advertisers, activists, etc.) to document performances they made in the previous year, and asks them to document the work in their own words. By including performances regardless of their country of origin, their genre, aims, or popularity, INDEX is the only print publication of its kind, revealing a breathtaking variety of practices used in performance as it actually exists today. Submissions are now open for the third volume, documenting works made in 2013. Look at the website for examples from previous volumes and for information on how to submit: www.emergencyindex.com. The deadline is January 15th, 2014. We especially welcome submissions from genres outside performance art and theater/dance.
Contact me for information regarding access to the Emergency INDEX website.
Image courtesy of Sunaura Taylor, “Lobster Girl”, oil paint on digital print on paper, 5.5′ x 3.5′ (66″ x 42″), 2011. The following image was used as part of Cripistemologies: a disability studies mini-conference held in New York. (April 2013) Click on image for Sunaura’s web page.
Sins Invalid, An Unashamed Claim to Beauty in the Face of Invisibility.
Sins Invalid is one of my favorite American projects, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is a performance based collective ‘that incubates and celebrates’ artists with disabilities, particularly ‘artists of color and queer and gender-variant, as communities who have historically been marginalized.’ In 2009, I was fortunate enough to be in the audience of one of their shows, which so happens to be available online with small donation of $2, between now and the 11th August. For all UK viewers who are unfamiliar with their work, if I’m guessing correctly, you might know of Mat Fraser, who makes an appearance in this show.
I wholeheartedly recommend this film. I can’t simply say I enjoyed it, which of course I did, but the skilled way in which it evokes a deep rooted emotion in me negates such niceties. Watching the show I was confronted with new ideas about both disability and sexuality. Whilst discussing the experience of the disabled body, I noted how I objectified this body then, even being guilty of locating it within the medical gaze. For me, Sins Invalid has the ability to ask questions about identity politics, freeing the body up from the confines of the medical discourse, showing, instead bodies that are complex. Patricia Berne, one of the co-founders, states:
We weren’t seeing folks who were holding the complexity of our identities — as people of color, as queer, as people impacted by male supremacy, as people with disabilities — all in one place. We wanted to create a space that could hold all of who we are, where we wouldn’t be the token person of color, or the token person with a disability, or the token queer person (not that Leroy is queer — he’s an ally).
The quote above, taken from Huffington Post’s article ‘When it Comes to Sex, Are Your Sins Invalid?’ offers a good comparison between disability justice and social justice more broadly. Such a progressive discussion breaks away from mere tokenism; significantly embodying the human experience.
To view the show click on the following link: Watch the Sins now!
Summer 2012, there are two buzz words in circulation, independently and in conjunction with one another: superhuman and inspiration. At the ugly end of the spectrum, ‘inspiration porn’ is making its appearance across social networks; a larger man with artificial limbs leans down to a young girl, also with artificial limbs, written across this image is ‘The only disability in life, is a bad attitude.’ Due to the popularity of this discussion, I shall end it here (at the end of this blog, there are some suggested readings).
The model of inspiration within the disabled community has perpetually been a valuable currency to trade on. Lawrence Clark, for instance, has been making full use of this alarming rhetoric this summer, with his new show ‘Inspired.’ Clark’s show is about “Asking awkward questions. Are all Paralympians special? What about those who come last?” I like this – what about the people who can’t have it all, who are just “rubbish”, as Clark suggested? To excel, to push our incredible machines to the max is an interesting process in and of itself. How does one arrive at this point? The writer/interviewer Richard Downes goes on to state that ‘To be heroic is a form of self-feeding that we can get into which will lead to another form of damage.’ In modifying our bodies, how far does one go?
So, Channel 4 is hosting this year’s Paralympic Games, and the advertisement has incited the disabled and the non-disabled community to ask many questions, one being: is this another employment of the ‘overcoming disability’ discourse? If not, it certainly still embodies the rhetorical device of the Supercrip. This is the assumption that the disabled body overcomes its inherent difficulties, to align itself with the normalcy of ‘those able bodies.’ During the latter part of the advertisement, the following text appears across the screen: ‘Forget everything you thought you knew about strength, forget everything you you thought you knew about human, it’s time to do battle, meet the superhumans’.
Part 1 of this conversation, by Nina, addresses the fact that this advert is appealing to the “non-disabled” audience. I never thought of the advert within this context, appealing to the masses only to turn up the heat and people’s desire to see Supercripness in action. However, to my mind, no discussion of this advert is complete without recognizing its glaring flaw. In a text that ostensibly celebrates, and serves to ‘normalize’, disabled people, it falls at the first and most common hurdle, the primary employment of non-disabled musicians and artists. Bay Area hip hop artist, Leroy Moore, recently led a discussion with fellow facebook users about this issue. Moore recognised the need for disabled artists to have a visual presence during such events: “The whole message is so bad and coming from non-disabled people sets us back on the international stage by a Hip-Hop group that is supposed to be one of the most political groups in Hip-Hop, Public Enemy! Sad that even conscience Hip-Hop groups don’t get it!” This discussion eventually lead to the point of analysing what critical thinking is, and how it pertains to the media. Which, I feel, is the most relevant question when approaching a media text such as the Superhuman. Critical thinking is the ability to recognize problems, and draw attention to the unstated assumption, in other words, expose the underlying rhetorical devices that are silently employed in all media. How do the media and activists come together to find a workable change to this well-rehearsed narrative, that caters both for the attention of disabled and non-disabled audiences?
After rewatching it several times, I’ll admit that the clip is fast, furious and sexy. My interpretation of this advert, that in fact these disabled athletes have a palpable sexual agency, juxtaposes the image of the infantile ‘Tiny Tim’, a character that often consumes the representation of disabled people. The advert certainly deconstructs this stereotype very well, even within the two minute time frame. Yet, the unfortunate ‘overcoming disability’ narrative is alien to most people with disabilities, not all individuals have access to this level of status, this degree of relatability. Therefore, this Paralympics advert arguably composes a narrative that dooms many to exclusion: failing to reach this level of success suggests an abject failure. It is either Superhuman or barely human.
The quick flashes of a car crash, a pregnant woman, the hand-to-hand combat of the battlefield, reveals to viewers that not everyone is immune to the impact of disability in their lives. I would like to rephrase this slightly. What is at stake here is an academic concept, that of ‘temporary able bodiedness’, which suggests that all members of society experience only temporary able bodies. If someone breaks their arm – they become disabled, albeit temporarily – suggesting more radically that, in fact, disablement is fluid. The question I have to ask now is, do non-disabled people perceive this narrative? Namely that fluidity between disability and ability is much closer to the surface than mainstream society could ever imagine.
Richard Downes: Laurence Clark talks about his Unlimited commission ‘Inspired’
In Mullins 2009 TED talk, she said: ‘The conversation with society has changed profoundly in the last decade. It is no longer a conversation about overcoming deficiency. It’s a conversation about augmentation; it’s a conversation about potential. A prosthetic limb does not represent the need to replace the loss anymore. It can stand as a symbol that the wearer has the power to recreate whatever it is and they want to create in that space, so that people society once considered to be disabled can now become architects of their own identities.’
The one simple question I ask, who has access to this?
Everyone’s heard of Average Joe, but has anyone ever met him?
What does he look like and how does he act?
Is he even a he?
And could you be Average Joe?
This image is a part of Niet Normaal, a new exhibition which explores what is and isn’t normal through the work of cutting edge contemporary artists.
This show finished in 2010, good news, the show is being run at Liverpool as part of a disability Art festival DaDaFest. Find out more here: http://www.dadafest.co.uk/the-festival/niet-normaal/
This forthcoming show at the National Centre for Craft and Design looks fascinating – ‘Transformers: How enabling design has transformed disability’, from 14 July to 30 September.
2012 is the year that the Paralympics come home to Britain and we are celebrating this with a summer exhibition looking at how enabling design has transformed disability. In the face of adversities the human race has an uncanny ability to survive, repair, learn and improve. Transformers will look at the brains behind some of these designs and innovations and at the people who use them. (This is museum own wording, I disagreed with face(ing) of adversities comment, there is no need to overcome disability)
Today’s blog is honoring Murray’s appearance in the Wimbledon Men’s Final, I am following the theme of tennis, by posting this Gary Hume’s poster. Also, this post is a part of my paralympics poster series, first post can be found here: the Inspirational Tracey Emin’s poster.
Hume’s poster is considerable more abstract than Emin, therefore its open to the viewer to interpret the image. The official blurb goes: Hume has abstracted elements from an image of a wheelchair- tennis player, combining them with foliage and a soft and subtle colour palette. Yet, this is entirely subjective painting, but how does this image relate to the paralympics? Once context or explanation is given, we can picture it.
The Olympics and the Paralympics are almost among us, and thus the lexicon of inspiration is at its nadir. Inspiration is defined as a process of mental stimulation, particularly as pertains to feeling something – as a result of a creative process. People with disabilities, or disabled people (the difference largely depending on what side of the Atlantic you reside) are constantly portrayed as objects of inspiration. If I hear the simple utterance ‘You’re an inspiration to me’ my instinct is to head to the nearest door.
In ‘We’re not here for your inspiration’, Stella Young guides readers through the complex issues of ‘inspiration porn’ perfectly. Young states: ‘I suppose it doesn’t matter what inspiration porn says to us as people with disabilities. It’s not actually about us. Disability is complex. You can’t sum it up in a cute picture with a heart-warming quote.’ Stella acutely highlights that ‘it’s not actually about us’ – demonstrating that it is quickly becoming about ‘us and them’ – thus divisively creating a binary of differences. The ‘us’ as in the disabled people, serve as objects of reassurance for ‘them’ – non disabled people. Again as Stella Young surmises: ’It’s [the us and them dichotomy] is there so that non-disabled people can put their worries into perspective.’
Tracey Emin was one of a handful of British artists who were chosen to design the promotional posters for the Paralympics. In an attempt to avoid employing ‘macho, fascist ideology’ as quoted in channel 4’s ‘That Paralympic Blog’, instead Emin used a dis/ableist ideology. Inspiration is the face of her Paralympic posters, her words: ‘You inspire me with Your determination And I love you’. I suspect for most paralympians it’s about taking part, not overcoming the abstract, adverse conditions related to having a disability. Emin goes on to describe her process: ‘It’s a more emotional energy. So in the end I just decided to go down the celebratory route.’ It’s quite clear that Tracey Emin is employing an ‘against all odds’ rhetoric here. In some people’s minds, if the disabled person manages to overcome their adversity, in showing great ability, being more able, they are thus showing promise of their latent able bodies. This suggests that there’s no pride to be located within disabled identity, what’s more, the two birds within the image are supposed to symbolise freedom, but I ask, freedom from what? Ostensibly, the daily struggle of living with a disability. Sporting achievements should be celebrated, but not at the cost of negating one’s identity, disability is part of identity – denying the person’s disability is failing to see the person as a whole.
Failure falls on many levels here: the committee had a social responsibility to select an artist who represents the ethos of the paralympic team. Perhaps, even selecting an artist with a disability. I’m mindful to observe that Tracey Emin could indeed have a hidden disability, or at least doesn’t self identify as a disabled person. I will make a bold statement here, based on the evidence of Emin’s artwork, I don’t think she has given much thought to disability other than her own experience of it. As a result of this, the paralympians are represented through an ableist lens, a lens that makes disability the focus, rather than a celebration of sporting achievements. I finish today’s blog with one question, who does the Paralympic Games 2012 belongto? I hope that the cultural olympiad will recognise artistic talents, as well as sporting talents, that will be exhibited this summer.
Please note: I have used Person/People with Disabilities and Disabled person/people interchangeably to account for different transatlantic preference, I do not assign importance to one over the other.
UPDATED: Interesting post from disability and respresentation – inspiration porn gawking
Visual collection of disability zines:
Pathologies this: a zine about mental health – Blog/Shop: Fluxxii is a not-for-profit distro of mental health zines.
Blog: functionally ill – mental health zine, made of paper and thread
Jerry Lewis, you’re not funny,
You’re using people to raise money!
Stop the pity, stop the lies,
Stop to think — don’t patronize!'
Chants taken from http://www.cripcommentary.com/LewisVsDisabilityRights.html
The short film The Kids are Alright is based on Jerry’s Orphans, a group of disability rights activists. The activists are protesting against the ‘pity approach’ which is used by the annual event the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day Telethon. The pity approach adopted by the Telethon proved to be the antithesis of everything that the disability civil rights movement was trying to achieve. In this circumstance it was evident that pity prevents empowerment. Mike, a disability activist within this film is trying to break away from his image of a 1960s poster child.
The poster child image can be seen as problematic for an adult with a disability. The “tiny Tim” evokes the idea of a pathetic and helpless individual, indeed a perfect candidate for pity.
The audience failed to grasp that there is a wider structural system such as medical healthcare that has failed these children. As Mike states in the film:
“Why is our mobility and quality of life so unimportant that we have to resort to these lengths just to get the support we need? That tells you quite a bit about how much America cares.”
Suggesting that the poster child is no more than their disability, reduced to a token figure of pity in order to appeal to the audience’s conscience and commodified in order to produce goods. The audience members of the telethon are contributing towards this disempowerment. Rather than focusing on social policy changes that would enable these children to be mobile and independent of their own accord, in this situation they can only gain independence through the receipt of pity and gifts from others.
Text in the above image: “Jerry Lewis says ‘You don’t want to be pitied for being a cripple in wheelchair, stay in your house’ Fuck You Jerry!!
Mike and the ‘Jerry’s Orphans’ are depicted in the film as forming a united front, showing scenes of a barrage of wheelchairs breaking through security barriers, chanting “No more pity!” Mike asserts that he in fact pities those who pity him, his pragmatic attitude and supports the film’s underlying themes that control over the lives of disabled people should originate with those who are affected by it, placing people with disabilities at the helm of disability organization.
Finally, the film shows Mike in an interview, discussing at length the injustice he felt was committed by Jerry Lewis; demonstrating his personal dislike of Lewis’s tactics. Mike quoted Jerry’s article regarding his attempts to empathize with people with disabilities, in order to show that Jerry was reducing people with disabilities as a ‘half a person’:
When I sit back and think a little more rationally, I realize my life is half, so I must learn to do things halfway. I just have to learn to try to be good at being half a person. I may be a full human being in my heart and soul, yet I am still half a person.
People I showed this film to found this part particularly disturbing. It was considered to be problematic that someone who was the ambassador of an organization raising money for people with muscular dystrophy might hold this position that disabled people are somehow ‘half a person’. Instead of empowering disabled people, Jerry Lewis’s actions and comments debilitates the representation of disabled people’s identity.
In 2011, it was announced that Lewis will step down as national chairman of the MDA.
To find out more about Jerry’s Orphans, you can access the full film here
I have selected a number of stills from Kazuo Hara’s documentary film: Goodbye CP! (1972). As each image communicates independently, I’m going to deliberately omit any subjective, personal analysis. All I will say is that this simple collection clearly asserts: ‘Hara wants you to stop looking and truly see‘. This film is based on a small community of people living with CP – cerebral palsy.
Full length feature can be found here