Sweet Gongs Vibrating

The politics of sensorial access

Authored by: Amanda Cachia

The Routledge Handbook of Disability Arts, Culture, and Media

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9780815368410
eBook ISBN: 9781351254687
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781351254687-16

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Abstract

In March 2016, my group exhibition, Sweet Gongs Vibrating, opened at the San Diego Art Institute in California as the culmination of a four-month curatorial residency. Sweet Gongs Vibrating was a multimedia, multisensory exhibition that broke with ocularcentrism – that is, the privileging of vision over the other senses – by embracing myriad modes of perception. This project aspired to activate the multisensorial qualities of objects to illustrate alternative narratives regarding access, place, and space for the benefit of a more diverse audience, especially for people with visual impairments and/or blindness. I was especially interested in challenging the ocularcentric modality of curating exhibitions, and the tendency to rely on the convention that objects must be exclusively experienced through vision alone. It was my attempt at curatorial “haptic activism,” a term introduced to me by the Australian artist Fayen d’Evie (see Haug 2016), as I aimed to have the visitor directly touch all works in the exhibition as much as possible.

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