Thursday, 11 November 2010

Ch1: Corporalities - Conjunctions

Ok, so I changed my mind about all of this. I've better expressed myself when I talk about corporalities as bodies, objects and words. Thursday, 10 March 2011.

With this work, I'm proposing an imagination of corporalities as conjunctions between bodies, objects and words. By imagination I mean thinking about them rather than saying what they are; I mean an understanding that is flexible to understand transitory and more permanent situations, and able to take several perspectives in front of one (or thereabouts) set of facts.

This is a social imagination, which means it might sometimes say things that are a little odd. In part this is playing down the importance of individuals' bodies (yours or mine, say), and instead of seeing them as things that exist in themselves as things that exist in relations.

Perhaps the link is obvious between someone and the wheelchair they are sitting in. But I'm using conjunctions to talk about more diverse links; say between that person, their chair, and the sidewalk; or that person, their chair, the elevator with a raised step in their house, and their mother that helps them get into that elevator. And each of these things are also connected with what people say about them.

Those examples were each additive - first the person, then person + chair, then person + chair + sidewalk and then person+chair+dodgy elevator+mum. I also want to consider conjunctions that are cross-sectional, in that they might not include all of a person.

Consider two people playing a computer game against each other. Here the relationships that are relevant are between their hands -- an interaction between fingers and eyes. The rest of our bodies might be quite static, here: and some of the people I met have little enough strength in their arms to make moving them not something simple. If someone's arm rests while their fingers perform complicated manouvers and they thump me at Pro-Evolution Soccer, then the conjunctions important to me were between parts of their body + the computer + parts of my body.

Of course, we can then look again at how each of us were sat in our chairs, and the table the computer was on, and the size of the room. Things that "can" and "can not" be done in one situation, like someone reaching something or lifting it, might well change if the height of the table were different and they were sitting on the floor.

This is a reason I'm going to be reluctant to talk about something being "inaccessible". I was watching a film where someone ran up the stairs, back in the 1960s. Awesome. Now, I can't do that, and I know lots of people that can't either. And so of course we wouldn't be in that situation: it might well be that people would help us up the steps, or we'd find a way to do it on the groundfloor, we'd go somewhere else, or, we'd simply be excluded. Being simply excluded is just one of many possible options, and to call that set of stairs "inacessible" is hiding all the others. Which, as I said in ditching disability, is perhaps a really important political position, but not such a great description of the diversity of what might actually happen.

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