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Disability Awareness Week

Disability is not a 'brave struggle' or ‘courage in the face of adversity’. Disability is an art. It’s an ingenious way to live.

“Bill Shannon dances — on four legs. Born with a bilateral hip deformity, this ingenious performance artist’s work will challenge your notions of disability.” (Pop Tech)

“I’m an artist trapped in a human-interest story.”

“People are more concerned with their idea of what the condition is than [with] my needs,” he says. All those people saying “sorry” when they passed him, or trying to help when he didn’t need it — even those who thought his abilities meant he was faking his disabilities. “People think, ‘Oh, he’s a disabled artist.’ But for the disabled community, I’m not really disabled enough,” he says. “I’m in between.”

In Chicago, he says, “I realized there was no way I could control people seeing me as representing failure.” Instead, he decided to represent it on purpose, and then play with the representation.

Wells’ Invisible Man went murderously mad; Shannon blames it on the character’s doomed attempts to return to normalcy. In a proposal for the piece, Shannon writes that his work “shows how madness can be averted by hosting the gaze rather than being subject to it.” Or, as Shannon says in real life, “In my work I’ve entertained the notion that normalcy is not always the best option.”

More info about Bill Shannon at www.whatiswhat.com.

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