Carmen Papalia Public Artist Talk
From Andrew Stengele
March 20, 2023
Mobility Device is a collaborative performance where nonvisual artist Carmen Papalia replaces his detection cane with a marching band that serves as his navigation system. The performance proposes the possibility of user-defined, creative systems of access, where the care recipient maintains their agency in an ongoing negotiation with the people they trust. For Papalia, performances of Mobility Device are a non-institutionalizing temporary solution for the white cane, a symbol that the artist says carries the barriers and biases of the Medical Model of Disability.
Mobility Device is a celebration of interdependence in the area of accessibility. At a time when cities, governing bodies and public institutions are considering how to better serve those in the broader disability community, it increases awareness around the idea that accessibility is best approached as a living practice that is guided by community needs. It illustrates how a growing access ecology can cultivate new standards and practices that help maintain a culture where disabled communities are not only supported in defining the terms around their care and participation but centered in their wholeness.
This event is made possible with support from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation and with support from the College of Fine and Applied Arts.