[Video description: We open on a bleak landscape of gray and moss-green boulders. A thin strip of gray ocean is visible beyond them, and in the distance imposing mist-bound mountains and storm clouds. In the far right of the image we see part of a wheelchair.
Title reads: Hamnøy.
The chair spins in place, disappears from view for a moment, and then re-emerges. From the back we watch a red-headed figure in a bright green jacket roll forward. They are the only spot of color in the gray world.
Title reads: Norway.
With great difficulty the figure begins to wheel out across the boulders. We see them struggle for what seems like hours (though time is compressed by a series of short cuts in the video). Repeatedly the chair gets stuck in the rocks, and the figure slides out, frees the wheels and climbs back in. At the end of the ocean, they climb from the chair, and their ankles and legs fold up under them as they climb out across the last rocks. At last, they sit on the rocks, looking out across the waves. The film goes to black, and credits read: Erin Clark, Published by the Deaf Poets Society.]
Artist Statement for Video
Moving a wheelchair through nature is awkward. But nature is my favorite place to be. While my efforts are incessantly praised as brave, inspiring and impressive - I experience the effort as a meditation. Physical effort, especially involving problem solving to reach a remote destination, is a pleasure that anyone who has been mountain climbing or wilderness trekking understands. Adding a wheelchair doesn’t change the fundamental motivation or reward. The struggle is considered tragic in the case of disability and intrepid without it. My determination and skill in maneuvering my wheelchair is internal, personal and for my own benefit, not a moral or motivational statement.
In Hamnøy the focus is on the Fjord, the weather, the birds. I intend to simply be a part of the landscape. My love for nature, my profound love of Norway in particular, compel me to get closer to it. My body is made of the earth. Including the metal inside me and the metal of my wheelchair. This effort is not defiant, it is worshipful. A physical praise that I feel worthy of making.
"DISABLED (A series of self-portraits taken during Disability Awareness Month)"
Artist Statement: "DISABLED (A series of self-portraits taken during Disability Awareness Month)"
I am not just an artist. I am also a Libra rising. I care a lot about aesthetics. Every element in my home is intentional. Placement, texture, layers, space, flow, colour, light. I am affected by it, so I compose a deliberate environment to keep me balanced. I do this for my state of mind, too. My psychic interior is curated as precisely as my apartment.
There are aesthetics I have no influence over. The lines of my body - out of proportion to each other - commonly referred to as deformities. Those I simply accept. I accept. I accept.
The only way I can connect is from inside my body, inhabited. So I'm invested in that - embodiment. Which doesn't require an opinion on form or function. I am responsible for the well-being of my body, not its appeal. Most of the time my body is a bewildering mystery, but the only true miracle is that after I have my aesthete way with the things I can influence - my environment, my mind, my expression - I sit quietly inside my body and listen.
These are my crippled legs. They taper, it doesn't appeal to me. They don't have to, they're legs. "Floppy feet" might be an actual medical term. I'm not sure. When I was a baby, I wore plaster casts up to my knees. I was too little for actual braces. I think the point was to prevent the deformity my feet have now. I hate wearing shoes. Finding ones I like, that stay on, that aren't too heavy when I do use my legs, that don't look 'off' - is emotionally draining. I mostly just wear kid-sized socks in fun patterns. Unless my shoes are specifically for the benefit of an outfit. Then my shoes fucking kill it.
This is my resected rib cage. This one is hard for me. What are those angels even trying to do? Not be comfortable - to be in or look at - that's for sure. My sternum is an apex? If you trace, slowly, the scar - as you reach my freckle, I will feel the ghost of your finger trail across my belly button.
If I lie on my right side, eventually my rib bones bow under the pressure of gravity. Popping when I inhale. Grating against each other when I exhale. I switch to my left side until the crush of my own weight makes my bones ache and roll over again. Fragile as fuck.
You can feel my heart beat like it's sitting in the palm of your hand if you cup your hand under my breast and press. But I think that's the same with anyone so bony.
This is my curvature. My spine has three distorted directions - bent toward the right, twisted to the left, and hunched forward. A prominent ridge rises up one side of my back, making a valley of the other side. A steel rod was put in. It was too long and stuck out at the point between my shoulder blades - grinding audibly on soft tissue under my skin when I moved. So they opened me again and sawed off the top.