Carmen Papalia: Open Access

Carmen Papalia: Open Access

Wednesday, July 19
12 to 3pm

Carmen Papalia's  For a New Accessibility  workshop on July 25, 2016

Carmen Papalia's For a New Accessibility workshop on July 25, 2016

In 2015, Vancouver-based artist and disability activist Carmen Papalia produced OpenAccess, a conceptual work consisting of five tenets that describe a relational practice concerning the agreement to support others. The work models a new paradigm for accessibility that centers care, mutuality, and the responsibility for those present to interrupt the conditions that obstruct agency for those in need. A critique of institutional models for accessibility - which the artist maintains are prescriptive and marginalizing by design - Open Access problematizes the typical roles of support by encouraging participants to share accountability, practice mutual aid, and organize for accessibility from the grassroots. Since he first proposed it in 2015, Papalia has employed Open Access as: a private agreement for support, a cross-country movement building campaign, and a methodology for assessing the conditions of institutional access and publicness.

On July 19, Papalia conducted a follow-up workshop to the series of engagements that he presented last summer at The 8th Floor, sharing developments from his last year traveling with the Open Access movement building campaign. The program established a space for considerations of agency and power in relation to the social, cultural, and political conditions that inform institutional access and publicness, culminating in an exercise in which participants will realize new potentials for Open Access in their communities.


Canadian artist Carmen Papalia makes participatory, socially engaged projects on the topic of access as it relates to public space, the art institution and visual culture. In early 2015, Papalia served as Artist-in-Residence at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, UK and at the Model Contemporary Art Centre, Sligo, Ireland, where he assumed the role of Access Coordinator, making site specific interventions in response to the long history of disabling practices at each institution. He recently finished a project in collaboration with Sara Hendran and students from the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering to develop an acoustic mobility device. Papalia’s work has been featured as part of exhibitions and engagements at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum, CUE Art Foundation in New York City, the Grand Central Art Center at California State University, Fullerton, the Portland Art Museum, and the Vancouver Art Gallery, among others.