Mobility Device & White Cane Amplified
Documentaries of collaborative performances, 2013 & 2015
Carmen Papalia (CA)
Mobility Device is a collaborative performance in which Carmen Papalia is accompanied by a marching band to replace his white cane as his primary means of gathering information about his surroundings. As a piece of music, Mobility Device is an extension of the musicality of the white cane — fixtures such as curbs, lampposts and sandwich boards become notes in the soundscape of a place. Mobility Device proposes the possibility of user-generated, creative process-based systems of access. It represents a non-institutional (and non-institutionalising) temporary solution for the problem of the white cane. On 1 June 2013, Carmen performed a site-specific rendition of Mobility Device, with accompaniment by the Great Centurion Marching Band from Century High School, at the Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, California.
White Cane Amplified documents the experiential research that Carmen conducted in preparation for a visit to the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts, where he is currently producing an acoustic mobility device in collaboration with students in Sara Hendren’s 'Investigating Normal' class.
The narrative depicts Carmen speaking into a bullhorn as he attempts to perform the social function of the white cane while maintaining his agency, finding support and communicating his nuanced and emergent needs.
Carmen Papalia designs experiences that invite those involved to expand their perceptual mobility and claim access to public and institutional spaces. He is a Social Practice artist who makes participatory projects on the topic of access as it relates to public space, art and visual culture. Carmen is the recipient of the 2014 Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary and the 2013 Wynn Newhouse Award. In 2015, Carmen served as artist-in-residence at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and at the Model Contemporary Art Centre (Sligo, IE) where he made site-specific interventions in response to a history of disabling practices at each institution. His work has been featured at the Guggenheim museum, MoMA New York, the Whitney Museum, the L.A. Craft and Folk Art Museum, the CUE Art Foundation, the Portland Art Museum and the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Science Gallery Dublin is part of the Global Science Gallery Network pioneered by Trinity College Dublin