Ontologies of Cure and Care

Last month, I wrote about a struggle I had with my participation—or lack thereof—in an Alan Kapprow Happening called “Company”. The specific instructions, written in 1982, are: A person locates a bare room and sits in it for a long time. Then she or he brings into the room a cement block and sits with…

Disability as Experience

In this post, I’d like to make things a bit more personal than I have so far. Last week I got into a debate with a professor. It’s not important what this debate was about. Instead, it’s important what this debate wasn’t about. This professor was asking my class—myself and six other graduate students/artists—to participate…

The “Fake News” of pain reporting

Shortly after Ronald Reagan’s administration came to power in the United States in 1981, Health and Human Services secretary Richard Schweiker began expelling scores of individuals from the Social Security disability rolls. His argument: their pain was not real. Instead, he argued—along with Social Security commissioner John Svahn, and White House policy analyst Peter Ferrara—benefits…

Embracing the Fiction in Sci-Fi

I recently returned from the annual conference for the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Science fiction has been, as you can imagine, a rather common theme here and I was excited to see that this year was no exception. Like last year, there was a panel…

23andMe as Modern Day Wunderkammer

  Whether collected on journeys around the world, bartered for with tradesmen dealing in wonders, or obtained as a gift, the objects within Renaissance Wunderkammern spanned an extremely wide spectrum—from antique busts to horns that could cure any ailment. Paintings and illustrations of these rooms show off large spaces filled to crowdedness with a plethora…