Let’s Keep in Touch (LKiT) is a multifaceted collaborative project which investigates tactility in the context of art via community dialogue, embodied learning, and the development of new critical practices and methodologies. Produced by Carmen Papalia and Whitney Mashburn in 2016, the project aims to set a precedent for tactile engagement and haptic criticism to become viable practices within contemporary art.
Offering a perspective that is traditionally underrepresented in art scholarship, youth participants are at the center of knowledge production in this iteration of LKiT. This November, artist Carmen Papalia and curator Whitney Mashburn will lead a series of workshops with students at various schools in New York City. Together with the youth, they will explore the topics of social accessibility and haptic criticism in relation to a collection of student-chosen belongings that hold significance to those involved. Considering non-visual and embodied approaches to learning, the group will assess the collection for tactile taxonomy and vocabulary while employing the critical methodology that Georgina Kleege, Lecturer in English at the University of California at Berkeley and author of “Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller” (2006) and “Sight Unseen” (1999) - describes in her writings on tactility and museology.
The insights from this collaboration will culminate in a public presentation curated by Mashburn at the CUE Foundation in February 2018; in which objects used in the workshops will be on display alongside process documentation and youth-authored interpretation.
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.
Whitney Mashburn is a Boston-based curator, currently collaborating on a project with Vancouver-based social practice artist, Carmen Papalia. She holds an M.A. in Critical and Curatorial Studies from the University of Louisville’s Hite Art Institute, an M.A. in Disability Studies and Counselor Education, and a B.A. in History of Art and Studio Art from Vanderbilt University. She has interned at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts as a curatorial research assistant, is a nationally certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC), and has worked both in disability services offices and as a researcher and editor in art history in Vanderbilt’s Special Collections and Archives and in their History of Art department. Her current research investigates tactile aesthetics, accessibility, and the role of conversation in social practice and institutional critique.
Access/Points: Approaches to Disability Arts is a series of conversations, workshops, and artist projects that explores ability as the crux of radical inclusion and access in the arts and beyond. The series investigates the ways that artists, cultural producers, and institutions are redefining disability and accessibility in contemporary art by destabilizing our notions of neutral public spaces and arts organizations, and moving towards inclusive body politics and social infrastructures.
Organized by CUE's 2017 Public Programming Fellow, Jeff Kasper, in partnership with Social Practice Queens at Queens College CUNY.
Supported by the Queens Museum and Social Practice Queens.