Dismantling societal stigma around disability: How can plant mutations allow us to reimagine disability as a valuable form of biodiversity?
Dismantling societal stigma around disability: How can plant mutations allow us to reimagine disability as a valuable form of biodiversity? is a micro-project undertaken by Emery Vanderburgh and Arseli Dokumaci funded by the FRQ Engage Citizen Grant.
Genetic variation and mutation are inherent to all life on earth, and yet are often perceived as un-natural. This project will create an artwork centering on plant mutations (Floral Fasciation), as a way to think about disability differently. We will observe, trace and document plant mutations, then create physical and digital floral sculptures and animations and bring them together in an interactive installation which will be exhibited in galleries and shared with the broader public through a “making of” documentary. Through exploring and exhibiting the aesthetic possibilities opened by plant mutations, our project displaces human disability as the central imagery without displacing it as the central critical lens.
By distilling these themes into an artwork, the public will have a unique opportunity to have discussions about digital versus real, natural versus unnatural, and human disability as a form of valuable biodiversity. Popular culture often focuses on the centrality of digital extensions and tensions between technology and nature in modern life. It does not often focus on the centrality of disability to those same lives. Embodying all of these themes together will illustrate how disabled politics have contended with these concepts and long-held insights valuable and relevant to everyone.