02.17.2012 / What Can a Body Do? Investigating Disability in Contemporary Art

This event is a roundtable discussion with Georgina Kleege, Carmen Papalia, Ann Millett-Gallant, Katherine Sherwood, Tobin Siebers, Laura Swanson, Sunaura Taylor and Rosemarie Garland Thomson, moderated by Graduate Program in Visual and Critical Studies student, Amanda Cachia.

The intent of this discussion is to explore the dominant paradigms at the intersection of disability and contemporary art. The roundtable will explore questions such as: How can reductive representations of the disabled body, as seen in Western artistic and curatorial discourses, be destabilized? How can the contemporary art world begin to shift these negative perceptions and meanings of the disabled body in order to make room for more nuanced, complex representations across diverse artistic fields? What are some new methodologies and strategies being employed by disabled artists today to convey a new visual and textual language around the association between visual representation and identity?

Preceding the round table discussion from 4-5pm is this Blind Field Shuttle walking tour, a nonvisual shuttle service in which the Portland-based artist Carmen Papalia transports groups of people to and from given locations: tourist spots, art galleries, restaurants and so on, from his vantage point as one with a visual impairment. Participants will form a line behind Papalia and keep their eyes closed for the duration of the walking tour, an element that requires an exchange of trust. The trip culminates in a group discussion regarding the experience. As participants traverse familiar landscapes nonvisually, they become aware of their sensory perceptions and the many ways in which one can experience and explore space.

Support provided by Southern Exposure’s Alternative Exposure Grant Program, the CCA President’s Diversity Steering Group, and the Graduate Program in Visual and Critical Studies.


Photo Credit: Jordan Reznick

Click on the links below to watch the entire roundtable discussion.
What Can A Body Do? Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtSTRj2s9H8
What Can A Body Do? Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKwkawC-Zxw&feature=related