I design experiences that allow those involved to expand their perceptual mobility and claim access to public and institutional spaces. Often requiring trust and closeness, these engagements disorient the participant while introducing new modes of orientation that allow for perceptual and sensorial discovery. Each walking tour, workshop, collaborative performance, public intervention, museum project and art object that I produce is a temporary system of access—a gesture that contributes to a productive understanding of accessibility. As an open-sourcing of my own access, my work makes visible the opportunities for learning and knowing that become available through the non-visual senses. It is a chance to unlearn looking and to take ones first few steps into a non-visual world.
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1981, Carmen Papalia is a Social Practice artist who makes participatory projects on the topic of access as it relates to public space, the Art institution and visual culture. His work has been featured as part of exhibitions and programming at: The Whitney Museum of American Art, the L.A Craft and Folk Art Museum, the Grand Central Art Center, the Canter Fitzgerald Gallery at Haverford College, the Portland Art Museum, the Columbus Museum of Art and the Vancouver Art Gallery.
In 2011, he was awarded a residency at Mildred’s Lane, where he developed a site-specific rendition of the Blind Field Shuttle that traversed the sonically stunning natural landscapes of Beach Lake, Pennsylvania. In 2012, he served as the Mellon Tri-College Creative Resident and offered a series of improvisational Blind Field Shuttle walks for students and staff at Haverford and Bryn Mawr College.
Papalia holds a Bachelor of Arts from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and a Master of Fine Arts from Portland State University. He has lectured on his work at the University of Sunderland (UK), the California College of the Arts, Portland State University, the Pacific Northwest College of Art, the University of Michigan, York University, and at Emily Carr University. His recent writings can be found in Stay Solid: A Radical Handbook for Youth (AK Press, 2013); Reference Points: Temporary Services (Publication Studio, 2013); and in the “Museum Experience and Blindness” issue of Disability Studies Quarterly.
Papalia’s upcoming projects include a series of experimental programs about access and visitor experience that will take place at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Carmen Papalia on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArtistCarmenPapalia
Carmen Papalia on LinkedIn: Link to be added.