Friday, May 25, 2007

"[W]e need many different prostheses..."



"Instead of the radiant citizen standing up and speaking his mind by using his solid common sense, as in Rockwell's famous painting 'Freedom of Speech', should we not look for an eloquence much more indirect, distorted, inconclusive? In this show, we want to tackle the question of politics from the point of view of our own weaknesses instead of projecting them first onto the politicians themselves. We could say that the blind lead the blind, the deaf speak eloquently to the deaf, the crippled are leading marches of dwarfs, or rather, to avoid those biased words, let's say that we are all politically-challenged. How would it look if we were chanting this more radical and surely more realistic slogan: 'Handicapped persons of all nations, unite!'?

[...]

If we are all handicapped, or rather politically-challenged, we need many different prostheses. Each object exhibited in the show and commented in the catalogue is such a crutch. We promise nothing more grandiose than a store of aids for the invalids who have been repatriated from the political frontlines —and haven't we all been badly mauled in recent years? Politics might be better taken as a branch of disability studies."

- Bruno Latour, From Realpolitik to Dingpolitik (Introduction to Making Things Public)

(Late 16th century prosthetics by Ambroise Paré, via BibliOdyssey)

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