Crip News v.40
The Banality of Eugenics
The now-dominant and most transmissible variant of COVID-19 is driving yet another surge of cases and hospitalizations around the world, as mask mandates and proof-of-vaccination requirements in public life have vanished. Experts fear monkeypox is becoming entrenched, following major missteps in testing and a profound scarcity of vaccines. Active shooter drills that should prepare us for when the epidemic of gun violence shows up in our lives remain patently ableist. The lack of material support for home- and community-based services creates a protracted crisis of freedom.
“Vulnerable” has become a key word in the pandemic lexicon, but it is one that has often done more harm than good. It implies that the mass deaths of disabled and old people were inevitable, and conveniently exonerates the state from responsibility.
What do we call the feeling of witnessing our most powerful institutions tacitly cooperate to maintain eugenics while outwardly claiming just the opposite?
The Enduring Power of Remote Access
In Yo-Yo Lin’s channels at The Shed in NYC this past weekend, the artist performed a live duet with Aotearoa-based collaborator Pelenakeke Brown. They took turns describing their movements to each other via audio, choreographing the other’s movement translations. Their video feeds were cast into glitchy projections, creating dancing doubles with beautifully tenuous indices to their physical bodies. Apart, sound descriptions translated music generated from Yo-Yo’s body into poetic text. Audio description turned the visuals into spoken artistry.
We need these re-enchantments of remote intimacies and we need them constantly. Lucky for us, Kelsie Acton & Aimi Hamraie of the Critical Design Lab have been archiving them and recently published a long-form reflection on their work for the SSRC’s Just Tech program. And projects like Sick Cards are using mail art methods for connection among disabled artists. And more, more, more to be featured here each week.
Brian Gresko writes about Chris Martin’s Multiverse Series for Milkweed Editions devoted to publishing books that explore “different ways of languaging,” written by neurodivergent authors including Hannah Emerson, Adam Wolfond, and JJJJJerome Ellis.
Christine Sun Kim is the featured European Saturday Profile in The New York Times this past weekend.
In the Midst, curated by Whitney Mashburn, is a virtual exhibition by the 2021/22 Art+Disability Cohort, featuring Alexis Eleanor Fagan, Aurora Berger, Francisco echo Eraso (he/él), Jillian Crochet, Megan Bent, moira williams, and Sara Weininger.
Intangible Adorations Caravan by Lisa Anita Wegner and Other HeArts - an “immersive, traveling theatrical & film experience that fuses Carnival with science-fantasy biography, circus and disability culture” - is touring in Toronto this summer.
Yesterday, The Whitney Museum piloted “Quieter Hours for Neurodivergent Visitors” with stim materials, ear defenders, artmaking materials, social engagement stickers, a sensory room, a social narrative document, and artworks with loud or sudden sounds and flashing lights turned off. It was designed by the Museum’s new Associate Manager of Access and Inclusion, Francisco echo Eraso. The next event will be on August 28th.
The self-proclaimed “streaming-era philosopher kings” at Vulture recently published a ranking of the best “descriptive captions” in season 4 of Stranger Things. And somehow they omitted any discussion of accessibility, which would have offered a much more interesting framework for evaluation. Mashable’s piece was only marginally better. The captions seem…fine? Certainly nothing like Alison O’Daniel’s. And I wonder if these writers are following other stories about captioning, like the current season of British Love Island featuring its first deaf contestant, Tasha Ghouri, with no captions at all. Or how Twitter only offered closed captioning toggles on iOS and Android devices just weeks ago. We might wonder if this is another instance of deafness working as a technological “assistive pretext.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the recently-passed state budget includes $100 million to contract and manufacture its own insulin to lower the drug’s cost and “make it available to all.” #Insulin4All activists were quick to point out that the life-saving drug shouldn’t be conceptualized in terms of a price tag in the first place, the win comes from grassroots advocacy, and these successes will knock big pharma’s kingdom down.
Social Security, SSI & Inflation
Through the automatic cost of living adjustment process, recipients of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income could find monthly payments increase by 8.6%, the highest jump since 1981. But that’s still less than the 10% erosion of buying power from March 2021 to March 2022 - and a decrease of 40% since 2000, according to a report by The Senior Citizens League. The Social Security Administration will announce the amount of the increase in October, hopefully after the Senate passes the SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act.
An Instagram post by @SinsInvalid: Black graphic with a neon teal and purple text reading, “JOB OPPORTUNITY! ACCESS SUPPORT / PERSONAL ASSISTANT POSITION. OHLONE TERRITORY / OAKLAND, CA." White text reads, "$25-$30/hour. More info: tinyurl.com/OaklandPersonalAssistantJob." There is an illustration of a wavy rainbow at the top of the graphic.
Accessible Media Inc., ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto, the Miles Nadal JCC, and the Canada Media Fund are accepting submissions for the Accessible Writers' Lab, “an innovative, national lab for writers with disabilities and established showrunners/senior writers to experiment with what an accessible TV writers' room might look like, breaking down barriers and creating pathways for creatives in the disability community to thrive in the Canadian television industry.” Deadline is August 4th. More info here.
An Instagram post from @Tangled_Arts: A photo of crumpled white paper as the background for “Call for text submissions: Alter©ations.” Members of the disability arts community are invited to submit individual words or phrases that respond to their experience of the personal/social/political/global world in which they live, work, survive and thrive. Deadline is August 1st. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more.
ReelAbilities is hiring a full-time Director of ReelAbilities International, Associate Director ReelAbilities NY. More info here.
Perel will be teaching at Impulstanz, Vienna International Dance Festival this week and next. Week 1: July 11-15, 2-4pm (CET) Rename and Unbody: Somatic Awareness and Language for Who and What We Are and Week 2: July 18-22, 2:30-5:00pm (CET) Skin In The Game: Interdisciplinary Performance for Disabled Artists. Please share with anyone in Vienna who may be interested!
People’s Hub is continuing to offer Community Care Clinics for Disabled and Chronically Ill Movement Folks and Building a Disability Politic & Access-Centered Cultures (Pittsburgh region).
Disability Rights Connecticut is offering a Know Your Rights seminar focused on voting on Wednesday, July 13th from 3-4pm ET. Register here.
Disability Unite 2022 in NYC’s Central Park and virtually. Sunday, July 17th, 12-4pm ET. Tickets here.
Cha Cha Real Smooth, winner of Sundance’s Audience Award, will be screened followed by Q+A with director/actor Cooper Raiff and actor Vanessa Burghardt at the Marlene Meyerson JCC in Manhattan on Tuesday, July 12th at 7pm ET. Tickets here.