Radical Accessibility: Making Media Art Collections Truly Accessible

NYU Center for Disability Studies
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Friday, June 17th, 2022
12 pm ET

Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) and NYU Center for Disability Studies are thrilled to co-present a roundtable discussion on relevant histories, practices, and standards for audiovisual accessibility in moving image art distribution. The panel will include distributor Ben Cook of LUX (London, UK), writer Louise Hickman, artist Darrin Martin, and Mara Mills (NYU CDS).

This program takes its cue from Emily Watlington’s research and accompanying lecture, “The Radical Accessibility of Video Art (For Hearing People),” presented by LUX in 2020. Participants will address how use of the term “access” to describe the circulation of moving image art, especially by distributors, has not fully considered accessibility—in particular for audiences with disabilities. The conversation will look forward, building speculative and material strategies for a sustainable practice of accessibility in moving image distribution through active captioning, subtitling, and engagement with disabled artists, among other approaches. The event coincides with the upcoming release of Crip Authorship: Disability as Method (NYU Press), edited by Mara Mills (NYU CDS) and Rebecca Sanchez.

Benjamin Cook is the founder director of LUX and LUX Scotland, the UK agencies for the support and promotion of artists’ working with the moving image, and represents Europe’s largest collection of film and video works by visual artists. He has been professionally involved in the visual arts and independent film sector in the UK for the past 25 years as a curator, archivist, producer, writer and teacher.

Louise Hickman is a research associate at the Minderoo Centre of Technology and Democracy, University of Cambridge. Previously, she was at the London School of Economics and the Ada Lovelace Institute’s JUST-AI Network on Data and AI Ethics. Her research draws on critical disability studies, feminist labor studies, and science and technology studies to examine the historical conditions of access work. She holds a PhD in Communication from the University of California, San Diego, and is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively titled “Crip AI: The Automation of Access.”

Darrin Martin creates videos and installations that engage qualities of perception mediated through the lens of both obsolete and new technologies. His latest projects consider ways in which meaning is layered and performative using sonic analogies and audio descriptions. Through collaborations with artist Torsten Zenas Burns, they build speculative fictions around re-imagined educational practices and dystopian cosplay paradigms. Martin is a Professor in the Art and Art History Department at University California, Davis.

Mara Mills is Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. She is a co-founder and editorial board member for the journal Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience. Most recently, she is the co-editor of Testing Hearing: The Making of Modern Aurality (Oxford, 2020) and Crip Authorship: Disability as Method (NYU Press, 2023). With Jonathan Sterne, she is writing a book on the history of time-stretching. She is co-founder and co-director of the NYU Center for Disability Studies, where she is currently co-directing the NSF-funded project How to be Disabled in a Pandemic.

The NYU Center for Disability Studies (CDS) promotes disability scholarship, artistry, and activism through: public events, a monthly seminar, an undergraduate Disability Studies Minor and Disability Student Union, and collaborations with other arts and academic centers nationally and internationally. The Center is currently co-directed by Faye Ginsburg (Anthropology/Faculty of Arts & Sciences) and Mara Mills (Media, Culture, and Communication/Steinhardt).