Trailer video for Recoding CripTech, produced by JT Bruce.
Recoding CripTech reimagines enshrined notions of what a body can be or do through creative technologies, and how it can move, look, or communicate. Working with a broad understanding of technology, from prosthetic tools to the built environment, this multidisciplinary community art exhibition explores how disability—and artists who identify as such—can redefine design, aesthetics, and the relationship between user and interface. These artists engage with technology in manifold ways from conception to production and beyond. Technologies range from accessible software and hardware, such as the Eyewriter, an open-source eye tracking and drawing system designed for artists with ALS and other movement disabilities, to a bespoke artificial intelligence built as a prosthetic memory. As the term “crip” reclaims the word for disability culture and recognizes disability as a cultural and political identity, so too do artists hack technologies to make them more accessible and inclusive.
Recoding CripTech fosters new dialogues about disability’s role in technological design and art, reframing the vibrant history of disability activism in the Bay Area within the broader movement of technological innovation in Silicon Valley. Challenging prevailing ableist narratives that technology serves to normalize or rehabilitate disability, artists and disability justice advocates take playful, transgressive, and critical approaches to reimagine this cultural history.
By cripping the camera’s gaze, Todd Herman asks us to reevaluate how we look at others. Spanning organic and virtual prostheses, M Eifler, Chun-Shan (Sandie) Yi, and Jillian Crochet make visible the private, and intimate lives of disability that intertwine care and memory. Jennifer Justice reveals built space as a technological incarnation of access and privilege, inviting us to reorient our relationship to these spaces. Sara Hendren, Alice Sheppard, and TEMPT ONE recreate urban spaces and movement through unexpected mediums. Darrin Martin and Allison Leigh Holt formulate a crip eco-consciousness that situates prosthetic technologies in natural environments and landscapes, and Sonia Soberats and Pete Eckert redefine the relationship of sight, touch, perception and the image. Together, these artists inscribe new movements and navigations through private, public, virtual, and natural spaces and places.
By creating new kinds of social and sensory interactions with technology, these artists portend a crip aesthetic for media arts that honors the diversity of human bodies.