Artist Statement - Dis/abling Enunciations
Diagrams are technical drawings that are intended to convey information, whether it is scientific information or as a technical illustration. In my artistic practice, I am particularly focused on medical and scientific diagrams, or patent diagrams that are connected to medical devices or products that are intended to correct or enhance life experiences for disabled or chronically ill folks.
The intention of a diagram is to describe something in a very straightforward way through a drawing. But in order to do that, diagrams must not have any ambiguity that might be distracting from the actual information conveyed (i.e., the product itself). In this sense, when humans are involved in the image, the go-to human figures depicted in diagrams are generally White, male, and able-bodied (and seemingly able-minded). The assumption in doing this is that the whiteness, the maleness, and the abledness are invisible so the focus can be on the actual information that is being conveyed in the depiction of the human interacting within the diagram.
Over the past two years, I have been turning to painting to expand the diagram collage work. Painting offers a very different space and pace of artistic practice compared to the large-scale digital collages. Instead of the speed and intensity of collaging dozens or even hundreds of images in one sitting into a digital collage space, painting embraces the polar opposite in its analogue and extremely slow process that takes many weeks to complete one work.
In this sense, critical disability studies allows me as an artist, in one respect, to embrace and work reflexively thought the push and pull of living as neurodivergent in a compulsory able-bodyminded society. But, in another respect, through the subject matter of these source diagrams, it also works toward revealing how pervasive ableism is in that it’s even ingrained in such nuanced ways as in how it’s depicted in something as seemingly benign as a patent diagram or a medical illustration.