Will you Marry me Space?
Comissioned: HAM Helsinki Art Museum for Pehmo / Softy -exhibition 5.11.2022-16.4.2023, curator Sanna Tuulikangas
Technical production: Verstas Helsinki Oy
Video 1, video 2, video 3
The European Space Agency’s para-astronaut project believes that people with disabilities have an important role in the development of universal safety standards and in upholding equality and human dignity across the
final frontier. For example blindness can be a benefit in the space station if the lights go out or there is dust or smoke in the air. Damaged inner ear may prevent astronauts from motion sickness. Short-stature or amputated lower limbs save space and the ability to walk is unnecessary in weightlessness. Even changing an ileostomy bag can be easier than pooping in space. An important value choice has been made to include everyone to the “province of all mankind”, even though space travel is the most exclusive transport of humanity.
The top part of the installation talks about a para-astronaut on the way to the space, crossing the Final Frontier. The second, slowly rotating layer describes the structural discrimination and violence against people with disabilities on earth, in a form of five textile sculptures. The rotating sculptures are filled with inside humor of the disability community, such as the discrimination framed as kindness, medical power, ableist slur, genetics and accessibility. The third level – the floor – is lava. Because in fall 2022 while making this intallation, our community was still angry and devastated about the exclusion of disability organizations from the Covid-19 crisis management, despite of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The most at-risk population was left behind in our greatest time of need. Our allies have been frighteningly quiet about the return of social Darwinism to public discussions, as if tacitly accepting that the right to get care and protection is conditional?