Episode 12, Art and Disability

This episode is a first of a series of podcasts with the focus on the intersection between art and inclusion. Art is a vast topic on its own, the same as the notion of inclusion. Art could come in many forms, cultures and areas and for a variety of audiences. Speaking of art and inclusion includes and refers to at least three main topics, the artists, the audience and the subjects and mediums. In this series, Quantization teamed up with Colin Clark to focus on different art + inclusion topics. For the first episode, we invited Cyn Rozeboom, the Executive Director of Tangled art + disability and an artist herself.

Print Screen of the Video Conference

Colin Clark and Cyn Rozeboom on Art and Disability!

Hello, and welcome to art series from Quantization podcast. In this series, we are talking about art and inclusion.
I’m Kaveh Ashourinia, and in this episode, I’m talking to Cyn Rozeboom, the artist and the Executive Director of Tangled Art + Disability. Colin Clark is my co-host on this episode and the rest of the art series.

Arezoo: Short after the outbreak, we faced all the limitations and realities in podcast production during the pandemic. We have no access to our studio, and social distancing measures prevent us from sitting in one place with all participants. The biggest challenge is the recording quality and logistics.
At the same time, it is an opportunity to explore and experience new possibilities. We are more flexible in accessing and contacting people beyond geographical consideration.

We decided to keep working on new topics and sacrifice our quality a bit. While we are all dealing with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot deliver at our audio quality standards. In return, we will expand on areas just mentioned earlier to compensate for the lack of in-person conversation experience.
[Short Music]

Kaveh: While we live in a new reality, I am recording from my condo in Toronto, Colin will be with us from his place in Toronto [I’m Colin Clark. I’m the associate director of the inclusive design research center at OCAD University in Toronto. Right now, I’m on this podcast with you from my basement in the city where I’ve been for the past three or four months], and our guests join us from any location and time zone.
[Short Music]
This is episode 12, art and Disability
[Music: Main Theme]

Kaveh: The floor is yours, but don’t forget to introduce yourself first.

Colin: I’m Colin Clark. I’m the associate director of the inclusive design research center at OCAD University. I’m also an artist. I have a video art practice where I’m very interested in the relationship between sound and image and ideas of multi-modality that become really crucial in an accessibility practice, thinking about how you make one mode of perception, site into sound, sound into site. And I’m interested, as an artist, in the ways that maybe these different media don’t translate so that they might not be communicative or translational but that they bounce off each other and irritate and bother each other in ways that is productive and creative. Most of my videos are in some way connected to music yet totally silent.

Portrait of Colin Clark

Cyn: I’m Cyn Rosebolm. I’m the executive director of Tangled Art Plus Disability, which is a 16-year-old art scoop dedicated to disability arts and deaf, mad, disabled artists. I am in a corner of my house right now trying to find some quiet so that I don’t have children barge in, although a cat might join at some point.

Cyn: And since we’re talking about art, I would consider myself an artist. I write. I’ve done some poetry and plays in the past, although even though I’m working as an arts administrator, I really do consider what I do now to be a form of artistry in terms of… but the medium is humans and community and how we take what is in vision what we could be and then try to mold it in some way, working with the medium. And that’s me.

Portrait of Cyn Rozeboom

Colin: Well, I have lots of questions, and then hopefully you have things you want to talk about or questions as well. If you’ll forgive me for starting in a very linear way, but maybe we start at the beginning and you can tell us more about what Tangled Arts is and how it came about. Maybe why it came about as well.

Cyn: Sure. Well Tangled, when it started some 16 years ago it was actually originally The Abilities Art Festival. It was an annual festival that was showcasing disabled artists. Tangled has developed over the one and a half decades that we’ve been around. It’s developed very much in sync with the movement in disability justice as a social movement. When Tangled started, it was perhaps a little bit more based in something of a medical model like people from outside the community looking at trying to be generous and helpful, whereas time has passed and disability justice movement has tried to really own disability and deafness madness as sources of pride and as a community that deserves and can have its own voice for its own sake, Tangled has also developed alongside with that.

Cyn: We went from being an annual festival that was showcasing artists… Wonderful activities, wonderful artists, but as we moved along it became clear that we wanted to have more of a disability led organization a few years ago when we first hired the first disabled artistic director, Eliza Chadler, who’s amazing. There was a whole movement to actually have more deaf mad disabled individuals in the leadership positions, and that was a real conscious choice. At the same time, as Tangled re-branded as Tangled Art Plus Disability, Eliza, in describing why Tangled? described the name as something like it’s a bit of a mess but it’s not a knot. It’s something that’s complicated and you can untangle it if you want but it also has its own unusual beauty. It’s this complicated, beautiful chaos, which works well, I think, for sort of the aesthetic that a lot of our activities hold.

Cyn: Now at this point, for the last three years we’ve had a gallery at 401 Richmond, an Tangled Art gallery, so we’ve really focused our energy around having exhibitions there, but we still do have our toes in a lot of other mediums. We work with a lot of partnerships with other groups, and yeah, we’re always open. We’re a group that’s always morphing and changing and adapting to what’s happening in the world.

Colin: I love the metaphor of tangled and thinking… It seems to me that identity and identifying in particular ways is a big part of the tangled community, and yet also one of the things that’s always struck me about your work is the way you create alliances with other community groups. Connections with the queer community, the Indigenous artists and looking at the kind of intersection of those identities, so also tangled in the sense of it’s not just one community or one group but tangled with the lives of other people as well.
Colin: Can you talk more about the role of starting relationships with other communities and how you’re identifying as a community for people with disabilities, the deaf and mad communities as well; how does that fit in terms of your interest in partnering and connecting with other work as well?

Cyn: Identity is such a big, complicated issue and none of us are just any one thing. And disability, even within disability it’s not cohesive. It’s infinitely complicated. To look at the intersections with other identities is just a natural fit. I think it’s really important for Tangled that we connect. If our mandate is to say, look, the people on the fringe, the people who’ve been relegated to the fringes, we’re not broken, we’re not wrong, we don’t need to be fixed. We have great insights. And the only way that you get people to know that is by actually sharing. I think when you’re trying to make change in the world, you have a number of options. We emphasize kindness and compassion and sharing and challenging ourselves as well as others, and you can’t do that if you operate in a silo. We don’t come at what we try to do from a place of guilt or shaming. That can be a tool but that’s not what we’re interested in. We’re really interested in opening our hearts and opening other people’s hearts to the beautiful possibilities of people and what unique perspectives can bring.

Cyn: And again, we can only do that if you actually connect and try to understand others. That’s bringing our community out and bringing the people that are within our community and getting them out there and making them feel empowered enough to share their stories with people that might now, they might’ve felt disenfranchised from before.

Cyn: And it’s also about Tangled. Tangled, we work with the world, we are part of the world. We have to connect with the communities around us. I don’t know if that answered the question. Sorry.

Colin: It did, and more. When we were talking about doing this podcast you also mentioned the sense that Tangled, certainly when it got a space in the 401 Richmond building and had a gallery, but that also became a safe space for people to come and talk about issues and other things, so more than a gallery in some way. What’s that like? That’s where you work everyday, at least before the pandemic. What’s it like to have an environment like that?

Cyn: It’s such a joy, it truly is. And you’re right; it’s a gallery but so often it morphs into it’s a community space and people, sometimes we joke that there’s times when it becomes this social, these sharing sessions in the back, often our little tiny little sliver of an office in the back, which [inaudible 00:09:15] becomes this mutual therapy session that we’re all just dishing. Or sometimes it’s just absolutely ridiculous because we all tend to have a pretty dry sense of humor, which we make each other laugh a lot. It’s lovely to have. Now that we have our staff is 100% deaf, mad or disability identified, there’s a real sense of comradery and ownership.

Cyn: It’s a space for us to feel okay about being who we are, and it does translate to the feeling of the space itself. I think I mentioned to you last time that we fairly frequently we get people that will come through and then there might be a tour and the tour will come and they’ll look at the art and then there’ll be one or two people that’ll hang back. So yeah, it is definitely more than just a gallery. The gallery is great, but having that open door is wonderful for people to just walk in and be with us.

Colin: I want to talk in a bit about how this sense of community and working entirely with artists with disabilities and others, how that influences the art and works that you have in mind. But just thinking, there’s something you’ve touched on that sounds like it’s at the core of your identity which is that it’s an organization that’s led by people who identify. And so that must’ve been quite the transition to go from being the Abilities Festival, which was a very high profile and well-known festival, but as you said, might in some way have been run or organized or the decisions may have been made by people who were supportive but ultimately couldn’t identify with the lived experience. What was that transition like? There must’ve been challenges that were part of that and barriers that you faced as you made this pivot to being an organization by and for deaf, mad and disabled artists.

Cyn: Unfortunately, I can’t really answer that because it was before my time. I’ve been with Tangled for three years and that happened six years ago or so. It was also something that it was a conscious choice. It was written into a strategic plan by the board. There was an executive director who was very conscious of wanting to make that happen, but make that happen in a responsible way, not to just throw people into a position where they would not be supported and able to succeed. Unfortunately I can’t tell you too much about the actual transition period. Sorry.

Colin: How is Tangled handling this kind of environment? What kinds of things are you doing as a result of the fact that the gallery’s closed, that you’re not able to have that amazing space that you described, being one of solidarity and connection. Suddenly it isn’t there right now.

Cyn: Yeah. Well, I think probably similar to a lot of group. One thing we have done is we’ve chosen to take our time in terms of what we wanted to jump back into. We noticed that the first week after everything closed down there was this feeling like, oh my gosh, we should put things online and we should produce. And we as a team sat back and said, “No, maybe that’s just adding to this myth of productivity.” And maybe we should hold back and listen and wait and think about what’s actually happening instead of going immediately into we need to do something, we need to produce something.

Cyn: We’ve been taking our time. We’ve been holding our bi-weekly staff meetings, connecting, doing some sort of big thinking. A lot of thinking. We were due for a strategic plan reassessment anyway, so we’ve been thinking a lot about what is our role? If we don’t have a gallery right now, if we’re not producing art and putting it in a space, what is our purpose? We know that we have one, we just have to figure out what does that mean in this space? And what translates into when you take aways all those artifacts and the objects away, what are we left with? We’ve been thinking a lot about that.

Cyn: A lot of our team has been going out to various conferences and panels and such, which has been nice. We’ve been trying to get all of our six to eight people on staff right now and trying to get them to have their time in the spotlight to talk about disability arts and what that means. There’s been a lot of interest in the community on talking about conversations about access and inclusion, which is really fantastic. Hopefully we will see this translate into some change once we go back to reopening.

Cyn: And then more recently we actually have started planning for a couple projects. I think I mentioned we have deaf interiors, which will be… It’s actually a Creative Users project project that Tangled is partnering with as well as it will be a city of Toronto cultural hotspot signature piece for 2020. And in that there will be six deaf artists who will create interior space. They’re going to figure out what this means. Originally the project was about creating actual physical boxes, almost like a phone booth size small gallery and you would have six artists who would then create little spaces of art. It’s been translated now into a virtual thing sort of going off the idea of if we’re in a Zoom call, right now we have three little boxes, so they will have their six little boxes and that they can create some sort of expresses how they get around in the world and how they feel about where they are and how they navigate spaces that aren’t necessarily set up to make them feel included.

Colin: That sounds amazing. Have you selected the artists who are going to participate in that?

Cyn: Not yet. We do have two co-leads, Sage Willow and Peter [inaudible 00:16:13] are taking on the leads as the lead artists and facilitators. But we have a call-out right now so we’re waiting for the submissions to come in. I don’t know what we’ve got so far.

Colin: That’s great. Is it an open call? Is it something somebody can go to your website?

Cyn: Yep, yep. Our Creative Users or Tangled. Yeah.

Colin: If I remember correctly, you had a show planned for right around mid-March when all of this happened.

Cyn: We sure did. We have this amazing show. It’s still in the gallery. This show called Thaumaturgy. It involved four Indigenous artists each took a direction on the compass as well as a element: Water, fire, earth, wind. The space is then set up almost like a medicine wheel sort of thing. And it’s a beautiful show. It’s a gorgeous show. We were supposed to have our opening on March 13th, which we were all set up for. We had the caterer bring in loads of food. We were going to have that opening up to probably about 2:00 that afternoon. It was strange because we’re just watching the news and getting reports on our phones and such about the various things that are closing. It felt like a bunch of dominoes and we’re watching the dominoes falling closer, closer to us. Finally, when I think the elder who was going to be opening the space called in feeling ill. We’re like, this is not a good sign. Yeah, no, we’re closing.

Colin: Oh no.

Cyn: Yeah, we invited everybody who was left in the 401 building to come down and eat the piles of food that we had and drink some of the piles of alcohol we had. That was our opening, and then we closed. Yeah, we’re going to hold onto the show. Hopefully we can have it up for people to see it a little bit at some point if we reopen.

Colin: I saw the website and it really did have amazing work in it. Are you thinking, like some of the other Toronto galleries I’ve seen that maybe by appointment or other soft reopening might be a possibility?

Cyn: Yeah, we’ve been talking about how that’s going to happen. I think it would be by appointment. We haven’t settled hard and fast rules yet, but certainly limited number of people in there looking at. Maybe there’s be a flow that you go in the same so that people aren’t mingling, crossing over. There’s so many galleries in 401 so we’re trying to work in harmony with whatever the building codes and the decisions so that people can come into 401 and feel confident that the rules are going to be the same.

Colin: It seems to me you might have a different set of concerns than a mainstream gallery, so if again you have artists or visitors who are deaf, a mask rule obviously becomes much more complex than it would be for people who don’t think about inclusion and disability from the start.

Cyn: Yeah. And one of the things, at Tangled we try to include some sort of tactile component often for people blind, low vision. But now it’s like, well how are we going to do that? We’re going to have to be very clear about if we are including tactile elements, that’s sanitized really methodically. We will often do audio tours and have headphones and things just to integrate different senses, but what does that mean? Maybe there are audio tours are on people’s phones and not using our headsets.

Colin: Yeah. Is there a role you’re thinking about in terms of digital technologies? Maybe the web or mobile apps or other things that would extend the reach of the Tangled space to people’s homes and that kind of thing?

Cyn: Yes, but we don’t know the specifics yet. When we get together, we’re actually hoping to partner with some groups that might have a little bit more knowledge about some of the available tech. We’re not super tech savvy in terms of cutting edge, but if there’s ever a time to really expand on that, this is the moment, right?

Colin: That’s amazing. And if we can help at the IDRC, this is something that’s very interesting. Big, important part of our research is access to culture and to creativity and who has a voice and expressing themselves.

Cyn: I might take you up on that.

Colin: [inaudible 00:21:10].

Cyn: You can’t see in the podcast, but I’m doing the evil hand thing.

Kaveh: Could you expand a little on different modes or forms of art?
How you translate the original art pieces into another form of your presentation like tactile, sound and so on. Is there any procedure for that?

Cyn: We’re always trying to increase access points in the gallery, so we’re always figuring it out. We often will try to invite artists to start from a place of inclusion, so start by thinking about how can you put people into your exhibition? When we’re adding components on, it’s really a case-by-case basis so we would always have an ASL vlog of artists’ statements, for example. In terms of our audio tour, we work with some audio describers, some professional ones. We’ve also had some training for our staff and some volunteers so that we can do some of that ourselves. There’s techniques of doing that.

Cyn: And we’re also interested in if, for example, we’re doing an audio description of playing with the artistry, the potential artistry of that. If you’re describing something, you’re recording it then you have choices, right? And there’s a level of potential artistic integration that you can put onto that. We like to try to get artists to be engaged in translating so that the artistic vision is consistent and that there’s not something artificial that’s grafted onto what an art is wants to say. We will often ask artists, if they have a show that doesn’t already have a tactile component, we’ll invite them to create something. Say, “Looking at what you’ve got here, can you create something in the same idea that will translate what you want?”

Cyn: For example, the very first show in the Tangled Art Gallery was Constructed Identities by Persimmon Blackbridge. Brilliant show. It involved these figurines that were all maybe about 18 inches tall-ish, these forms that were physical. Bodies, they were bodies but they were constructed with these hodge-podge of doll parts, pieces of wood and bone, then artificial metal. These little figurines that were incredibly complicated and incredibly beautiful. But they were all very fragile, so this was on the show. But we… Well, not me but I believe it was Eliza at the time asked Persimmon if she would make a tactile piece, which she then did. A much more sturdy piece that had a lot of texture but people could actually get their hands on it and get a sense of what these figurines were like. Any other specifics, Kevin, that-

Kaveh: Actually, I remember that show and it was quite impressive. Do you think these translations as alternative modes of art are standalone pieces or continuous and transitional forms of the original artwork? Or what is the line here? What’s the originality here? A group of objects and components together making an art form or individual elements that refer to one art piece.

Cyn: I think they can be, and that’s some of the most exciting work. Personally, I think some of the most exciting work is where the artists take advantage of those alternative modes of avenues into their art and look at the artistic potential of those to make it more multi-leveled. I think that can be the most exciting thing. Taking access and putting it at the heart of the piece instead of as an afterthought. That creates these just really overwhelmingly beautiful things. If you are not expecting to be moved by an audio description because it has some sort of poetry to it, or even looking at ASLs as an interpretation. It’s such a beautiful language. To be there amongst people who are speaking with each other and just the effect of being immersed in a… The art is just stacked full of beauty. It can be just amazing. It can be. It’s not always, but certainly I think that’s what we would aspire to is that all those ways in can contain the artfulness.

Colin: What’s interesting to me with that kind of situation is also the way these different things, they may or may not stand alone on their own, but when they’re combined they amplify and change your perspective on a work by virtue of the fact that you’re not… Let’s say it’s a visual art piece, a painting. You’re not just looking at it but you’re also hearing an interpretation of it, or maybe you’re hearing a story about it, or maybe you’re hearing ideas from the artist themselves or from curators or from the audience who’ve reflected on it. It’s a kind of hyper-relational thing happening where you have all these connections and relationships that form and you as the viewer or experiencer, I guess, of the artwork then gets to find your own path through all those different connections.

Cyn: It’s very much like what you were saying about translating from one form of art to another. One thing will never be exactly the same. You’ll never get a direct, complete translation of one to another but you can get these resonants. It’s almost like a choir where people’s voices, you’re singing the same note but they’re never quite the same and it just makes the sound bigger and better and more oo, resonant, you know?

Colin: It is interesting thinking. There’s a politics to interpretation or to creating alternatives. Thinking about audio description of film or other visual works, I think some audio describers see themselves as objective, neutral observers. And obviously there’s a sense that you might want to hear what’s there visually as it is, but of course we know there’s no objectivity. People bring their biases, their viewpoints, their perspectives.

Cyn: Absolutely. Yeah.

Colin: What you were talking about; about the kind of artistry of creating alternative, the translation approach, that you’re always doing it creatively and realizing that something new gets made. It’s not just a filter that you hear this visual thing, it’s a whole new artwork that goes with the other one.

Cyn: That’s true. And even if you don’t recognize it as being an artwork it is in translating it you are imposing a lot of assumptions, even if you try to be as impartial and objective, which you’re right, doesn’t exist. But there’s still all of the political, cultural norms that constitute what that is, what objective is in the state that root it in the time and place of that art.

Colin: Yes. Have you had cases where artists involved in Tangled have collaborated specifically to get away from this idea that there’s one master artwork or mode and then it gets translated into others? But actually you’ve maybe got… I’m thinking about, say David Bobier’s work with sound and tactility and then how he might work with a visual artist or other things to create works that are accessible and multi-model but without the single center of this is the important artwork and then we translate it into these other modes.
Cyn: You stole my example of David. Dave is a great one, though. Maybe that’s partly because it’s a rare thing to see [inaudible 00:30:15] tactile as standalone, so maybe by nature of what David does, probably. I’m blanking on whether or not there’s specific examples. Certainly any time artists come together to collaborate…

Cyn: We had an interesting collaboration with our Flourishing series. We had a young Indigenous artist, Mani Oaks, who did a lot of things digging into our heritage, did some rawhide skin stitching and tattooing. This was a seven artists show. But she connected with Richard Harlow who is a blind painter out in BC and the two of them just got along famously and decided that they were going to work on a piece together. They ended up working on a [inaudible 00:31:06]. Mani was looking at the… The way that you would dissect an animal that she had been learning. I don’t know what the word is for that, but some techniques that she’d been learning from her grandparents. There was a lot of ceremony and a lot of meaning behind that, so looking at this uncovering dissecting an animal. And then Richard, who did a lot of painting but did a lot of tactile stuff, so the two of them worked on this piece where it was a dissection scene but it was tactile so you could touch it. And across Canada, which was this really amazing thing too. From BC to Thunder Bay.

Colin: Thinking about different modes of experience ends up raising the stakes hugely, right? And that the artists are working both thematically and right into the material. Those of us who would experience this obviously wouldn’t get the same thing if we didn’t have the tactile aspect. Whole new way.
Cyn: Yeah.

Colin: I’m curious, and it may not be Jermaine, but whether there’s a way that you tangled by virtue of how you’re structured, run by people with lived experience. Is there a way that you make decisions and you plan your strategy? You’re doing all of these things with your strategic visioning for the next little wile and that kind of thing. Do you feel like you have to do it differently by virtue of who you are and how you do things?

Cyn: Yes. I think that the way that we operate is actually a lot different than most organizations. The way that we operate internally is we emphasize a crip inter-dependence, which is really about having each others back and being okay to break down or not be able to do stuff or to ask for help. This is actually something that now that I’ve had a number of people come in since I’ve been hired. It surprises me how often… It takes about three months for new employees to actually realize it’s okay to ask for help, and in fact not asking for help when they hit a block is the wrong thing. That we want them to admit when they’ve hit something that they can’t work through or that they need assistance with. That the worst thing that they could do is to try to suffer in silence and try to get through something because they feel like they have to perform or that that’s a failing on their part.

Cyn: I guess because people have been felt like they have to show that they’re okay, this sense of trying to perform for the world. We don’t. We sort of give that up a lot. And that’s super functional in the way that we work. We don’t all do everything that everybody else does, but there’s enough redundancy in terms of what we’re working on and what we know that we can always catch each other.

Colin: That’s amazing. There is a real cultural violence that’s done I guess by neoliberalism that says we have to be independent, we have to take care of ourselves and be self-responsible. It creates the situations in which having a community that can be supportive and care for each other is somehow off limits.

Cyn: People are so afraid of showing any sort of weakness. What I’ve seen elsewhere is that people will put on a front but the moment that they do show that weakness, suddenly people’s attitudes towards them change and they’re seen as unreliable or a weak link. That doesn’t have to be because everybody is weak sometimes. Everybody has things that they can’t do, so it’s ridiculous to think that people have to be these completely autonomous individual paragons of virtue or whatever. We’re just setting ourselves up to fail.

Colin: Yeah, it is a ridiculous idea yet it’s so pervasive in some strange way. Do you think other arts organizations or maybe other organizations of any kind; what do you think Tangled does and has gotten right that people should learn from?

Cyn: I think our attitude towards inclusion is pretty good. Not to say that we have it all down pat. We don’t, of course not. But the fact that we’re forgiving of ourselves in our efforts to be better open is good. And like I said, that sort of radical of humanity that people should… That should just be that way. Why don’t we value the people that are in our groups instead of over the positions?

Cyn: It’s one of the reasons, actually, to go back to the question earlier about collaboration. One of the reasons why it’s really good for us to collaborate. We get a lot of people that call up or have come to Tangled and say, “We want to be Marks inclusive. We want to know how to engage disability communities.” But often what they’re thinking is they want a checklist of we’re going to do this, this, that, and the other thing and then we’re going to have it right and it’s going to be good now. Then we’re going to be inclusive.

Cyn: But it’s not like that. It’s more of the attitude and it’s an ongoing dedication to problem solving and seeing individuals for the complicated multi-layered, intersectional humans that we are. To be a constant life hacker and to embrace that, and that’s something that you can’t… You can’t just put that as a checkbox. When we work with groups on a large, collaborative, long-term basis, people get to see us do that in action and they’ll get a chance to see us fail and try to course correct and forgive ourselves for saying or doing something really stupid today but tomorrow we’ll work on making that better. And that’s the point. The point wasn’t to get it right, the point was that we’re working on… Actually, getting it right would be nice, but that’s just… We don’t always expect it to be right constantly, and that’s why the collaboration, it’s so important because you have to experience that. You can’t say, “Go do that.” And so often inclusion and access is superficial.

Colin: Right, somebody wants to be done with it to achieve some state and then, okay now we don’t have to worry about that.

Cyn: Yeah, it’s done now.

Colin: Right. They’re seeing inclusion as a negotiation, a culture, an environment, as something you’re always working through, always having those conversations.

Cyn: Yeah, absolutely. My colleague Sean says, “It’s the crip rise and you’re never going to get there because it’s an impossible state.” I can’t imagine a society where everybody is always included always. It’s always a site of negotiation.

Colin: I think you want to have inclusion and you also want to have space for difference. The place that was completely inclusive would also be the one that was undifferentiated. Maybe consumerism is the one place where everyone is included right now. You want texture, you want difference of opinion, you want… To go back to your name, you want things to be a little bit tangled. And sometimes you have to sort them out and sometimes you want to tangle them up a little bit more.

Cyn: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, how boring would that be? It’s like we’re fluid beasts that exist in time. If we don’t evolve then what are we? We’d just be like lumps.

Colin: Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Cyn: Here’s a question for you. I don’t know know if you saw there was the Beaverton joke article about Canada is finally supporting artists with a CERB. You can’t get away from not supporting the artists. But I do know a number of artists who are now actually having this guaranteed income without having to do gig work. It’s allowed them some flexibility to finish up some projects that they wanted to do this way. I wonder if any of the artists that you’re connecting with have thought about what that means, this idea of having $2,000 a month.

Colin: Well, it’s funny because this also brings up questions like universal basic income, which I think becomes more complex for people with disabilities in it many of the models of universal basic income tend to risk taking away things like disability subsidies. On the surface I think some of this could be amazing, but is it going to reflect the diversity of needs? The fact that assistive technologies or having a helper come in and work with you costs more money. If there’s these subsidies of any kind, can they reflect the diversity of needs and the systemic inequalities that are often part of the…

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Cyn: Tangled art plus disability. We do our website is tangledarts.org. We have a newsletter that you can sign up on that first page. We have a gallery but it’s closed right now, which is once the 401 Richmond building is open again, we are there along with many other… It’s a wonderful building and a great place to go. I guess to go back to the website, that’s really the best way to find us right now.

Colin: Well, I’m really looking forward to the day when I can come to the gallery and see you, visit you and see the show that didn’t quite open.

Cyn: Didn’t quite open.

Kaveh: It was Episode 12.
We want to thank Cyn for accepting our invitation and all of you for listening.
As always, Marshall Bureau composed all tracks for quantization.
We appreciate the continuous support of the Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University.
Please check out our website, quantization.ca for more episodes and full transcripts, and come back for upcoming episodes.

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