Wormholes are portals that bring the body into new and unexpected proximities with time and space. In science-fiction, they are imagined as glowing and vibrating tunnels of colour that bridge distances between embodied experiences and physical spaces. Through wormholes, the body is liberated and travels outside of the normative constraints that limit its agency.
Welcome to my Regulated Body emerges as part of the “crip horizon”—a term coined by curator Sean Lee—which is an ever-moving landscape that imagines potential futures for disabled people. Wormholes punctuate this horizon and render the human body, space, and time in a state of perpetual expansion that refuses to be measured.
In this solo exhibition, Hamilton-based artist Valentin Brown has created textile and video work that expresses the ways in which disability arts and culture disrupt and animate the stories we narrate about ourselves. For Brown, these works resist oppressive conceptions about the body, and in turn, probe questions about how transness, disability, and madness are similarly medicalized.
Among the works are soft sculptures of hybrid starfish, worms, and flowers that appear from wormholes extending into our world from others unknown. Together, their forms call attention to mutual aid practices that engender care, vulnerability, and solidarity outside of institutionalized settings. Their entangled bodies were made from donated fabrics that symbolize care networks that support the artist. Tenderly woven together, these works ask: in what unique ways do people take care of each other when no one else will?
Accessibility features such as closed captioning, audio description, and tactile sculptures inform the works, asserting accessibility as a political practice. Welcome to my Regulated Body envisions a constellation of undulating new worlds that imagine people like the artist within them.
This exhibition forms part of Below the 6, a series of exhibitions that focuses on artists based in Southwestern Ontario and whose practices are socially and politically minded. Below the 6 is guest curated by Noor Alé and is generously supported by TD Bank Group.
The artist would like to thank the Ontario Arts Council for their support of this exhibition.
Welcome to my Regulated Body (ASL)
Curatorial text translated by Deaf Spectrum. Text by Noor Alé. Additional video editing by Valentin Brown.
As an emerging multidisciplinary artist, Valentin Brown employs strategies of accessibility to resist assimilative conceptions of the human body prescribed by systems of social control. Through multi-sensory, site-specific installations, Brown envisions accessibility as a form of relationship, rather than solely an architectural or logistical challenge, rejecting current neoliberal methodologies that frame difference as something to only be accommodated, tokenized, or otherwise regulated to fit within the existing capitalist system. To learn more about Valentin Brown’s practice, please visit valentinbrown.com.
Noor Alé is a curator, art historian, and writer. She is the Associate Curator at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto. Her curatorial practice examines the intersections of contemporary art with geopolitics, decolonization, and social justice in the Global South. She has contributed to curatorial research, exhibition management, and public programs at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Art Dubai. Alé holds an MA in Art History from The Courtauld Institute of Art, and a BA in Art History from the University of Guelph. Alongside Claudia Mattos, she co-founded AXIS, an independent curatorial laboratory dedicated to exhibiting socially-engaged contemporary art. She was awarded curatorial residencies at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and the Shanghai Curators Lab.