Bodies of Difference (KADK Copenhagen)
Three disabled artists, as well as Jos Boys, were at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture, Design and Conservation (KADK) in Copenhagen in early September 2018 to do a one-day creative workshop for new postgraduate students in collaboration with tutor, Masa Kajita. In this workshop, students were asked to create an experience/situation to celebrate bodily differences, by exploring how to design new relations between diverse bodies and built spaces.
As Masa writes: “By investigating assumptions about what it is to be ‘abled’ or ‘disabled’ we challenge ourselves to learn from the huge variety of ways bodies have of engaging with space, objects and others. By working from disabled artists’ creativity and innovation, we can together explore what starting from difference brings to design. The project is not for developing technical solutions for solving problems. Instead, it takes a polemic position to see design as an extension of human capacities. Accordingly, it questions the role of design in order to celebrate the rich range of neuro and bio diversity – rather than ignoring or marginalising difference, in order to develop new ways for bringing bodily pleasure forwards.”
The three artists were David Dixon, Noemi Lakmaier and Raquel Meseguer. Each had 50 students for a day, and the creative outcomes were fantastic. An overall concern was to enable students to explore what an explicit and differently embodied creative practice might be like (both out of ‘disrupting’ their own bodies and in collaborating with different others.) Dave’s project was called ‘Alterator’ and examined how altering/augmenting our bodies can open up creative insights and potentially transformative practices.
The students working with Noemi explored ‘The Body in Relation’ to see how interactions between people, objects and spaces might be creatively and critically explored through detailed attention and performative doing.
Raquel, meanwhile, developed her associated creative practice through a Crash Course in Cloud Spotting She worked with students to explore the effects of lying down in public as a means to creatively intervene into current social and spatial practices.
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