Waking the Machines: Assistive Technologies and Prosthetic Agency

Image from Waking the Machines Exhibition
Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 4:00am to Friday, August 15, 2014 - 4:00am

Led by Sara Hendren and Sponsored by the Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University

InterAccess presents a three-part event series led by Sara Hendren, an artist who develops tools, applications and devices that examine adaptive technologies and possibilities for prosthetic agency. The series starts off with a lecture on art, assistive technologies, and performative prosthetics on August 14, continuing the next day with a workshop on August 15 that investigates the hidden, overlooked, deceptively simple technology of the inclined plane—or ramp, followed by a public discussion with multiple stakeholders invested in using this technology for radical leisure and radical access. Joining us for the the second day will be Ariel Stagni, Toronto skateboarder, skating advocate, and urban planning advisor for skate parks globally; Luke Wanders from the Stop Gap project, a barrier-free, wheelchair-ramp design initiative; Jennifer Tharp, Parks Planner from City of Toronto, as well people from architecture and planning professions.

This special off-site program is the first of InterAccess’s Agential Technologies series, which critically challenges predetermined ideas of an ideal or “normal” state by workshopping ways that emerging practices in art and technology may mobilize unexpected forms of agency. A focus for the first event in the series is given to mobility, urban environments and architecture.

The program is also part of Slope : Intercept, Sara Hendren's ongoing research into alternate forms of wheeled mobility, and the deceptively low-tech physics of the inclined plane as an inherent critique of the vertical-and-horizontal organization of many global cities.

Sara Hendren is an artist, design researcher, and writer in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She makes material and digital artworks, writes, and lectures on adaptive and assistive technologies, prosthetics, inclusive design, accessible architecture, and related ideas. Her work has been exhibited in the US and abroad and is held in the permanent collection at MOMA (NYC), and her writing and design work have appeared in the Boston Globe, The Atlantic Tech, FastCo Design, and on National Public Radio (US), among others. She lectures in the Industrial Design and Digital + Media departments at the Rhode Island School of Design, and she writes and edits Abler, a syndicated column now on Gizmodo. As of September 2014, she joins the full-time faculty at Olin College of Engineering as Assistant Professor of Design.

Lecture: Thursday August 14, 2014, 4 to 5 p.m.
Workshop: Friday August 15, 2014, 9 to 11 a.m.
Public Forum: Friday August 15, 2014 11 a.m. to noon

For more information please visit the separate event links below:
Lecture: Waking the Machines
Workshop & Forum: Mapping Access and Wheeled Mobility

Image: Song of the Machine, Superflux

Venue & Address: 
Open Gallery 49 McCaul St. Toronto, Ontario