Monday, September 17, 2012

Spare Parts

The last few weeks seem like a strange fantasy dreamland in retrospective: Thanks to the Paralympics, not only sports became more diverse, inclusive and exciting, but London 2012 also gave disability culture a massive boost. For 12 days, disability was everywhere, from disabled comedians on TV and on stages to films and plays by disabled artists and exhibitions on disability.

One of those exhibitions, that was not part of the official Cultural Olympiad, was 'Spare Parts'. It is curated by a young Australian lady, Priscilla, who had the idea for the project when she found a few of her own old prosthetic legs stored away in a cupboard. Held at the 'Rag Factory', off Brick Lane, 'Spare Parts' showcased prosthetic limbs turned into artworks by a wide range of artists. In addition, it' also showed futuristic-feeling prosthetic limbs that are made with cutting-edge technology - Priscilla admits having a bit of a crush on Paralympic 'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius, who might have served as an inspiration for those exhibits.  There are also a few photographs displayed of amputees with special, customized prosthetic limbs. One of the glamourous ladies depicted is London's very own performance artist, model and fashionista Viktoria Modesta, who starred in the Paralympic Closing Ceremony.

The exhibition showcases that prosthetic limbs can be fun (a little girl proudly presents her artificial Barbie leg) and sexy - both the artists and the owners of the limbs have turned them into objects of desire. Upon seeing a diamond-encrusted hook, I am startled at how stunningly beautiful it is and my first reaction is 'I wish I had this!', before I can actually process the connotations of this thought.

'Spare Parts' definitely challenges preconceptions about artificial limbs and about beauty, in a similar way that Sue Austin's 'Creating the Speactacle!' creates a new dialogue and desirability around the wheelchair.

Unfortunately, 'Spare Parts' was only on during the Paralympics, but below are a few pictures of the exhibtion that Priscilla allowed me to take. Enjoy.

Zoe and her flowery leg that is now replaced by a Barbie leg

Viktoria Modesta and her steam-punk leg

The naughty Vagina arm

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the retweet, I only got to see stuff that came up to Liverpool through Dadafest (see my blog your images are great your blog gives me a real flavour of what happend during to you at unlimited festival, Looks like I missed out on some amazing stuff!

    (p.s. best wishes on your engagment :))