Disabled Body/Ableist Space

Text and work by Panteha Abareshi

Above: I Don’t Know What Safety Is, 2020, VHS performance documentation.

Ableism, like most systems of prejudice, is woven deeply into our social-societal language. It is also greatly concentrated within the Museum as an institution. I define ableism as the vast array of beliefs and systems which constitute the so-called “ideal” body, regarded as the norm, as being essential, as being fully, truly human. Thus, a direct parallel has been created, which entraps the disabled body into being defined and imaged as lesser, imperfect, or subhuman. We must constantly question what is making us the most uncomfortable, and among the most difficult things to face is the disabled, uncensored body. In performance video-installation works that I have created, the self-documentation of my own body in discomfort, pain and a state of vulnerability is an imaging of the sick/disabled body that is often difficult to witness.

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