Exhibition Artist Statement: Of the four themes—and four participants—our theme was ableism. A term that we were just becoming more sensitive to, something to help us with understanding how we consciously and subconsciously discriminate against people who have a spectrum of abilities not always what we think of as 'normative'—To better understand Ableism we have to move well past wheelchairs, curb-cuts, and hearing aids to how we view bodies, how we idealize both women and men, and how we view birth defects (more sensitively and collectively called congenital disorders)—we also have this enormous archive to explore. What’s the connection and what do these artifacts—in these places have buried in their pasts.
The most important thing left to do was transform the prints physically. To change them into a commentary for this time and to remove the kind of nostalgia which has held the visual products of circus enterprise in a harmless spectacle. I suppose we thought this transformation to be a kind of ‘radicalization’. Which felt very necessary for the theme. And necessary for radicalized people.
It doesn’t serve us to empower myths of the past with more nostalgia. It does invite a role for myth into our lives as collectors and storytellers, it even invites a rarified fetishism of the numerous objects (sometimes tools) we encounter along the way. However, with any reasonable dig into history—any discussion aims to be bigger and more expansive than the artifacts we encounter, and to the credit of the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, they were prepared and excited to see what 4 artists would do with the four themes they provided.