She then proceeds to report on installations and artwork by different artists who identify as disabled. From there, Slominski describes the birth of a community where disabled artists communicate remotely by sharing recorded voice notes. Thanks to this dialogue, and under the leadership of artist, writer, and researcher Jamila Prowse, they have created a series of artworks, films, and installations titled Hyper Functional Ultra Healthy. According to the organizers, this series “seeks to explore its perceived binary opposite – ‘sickness’ – as a way to propose an inclusive framework of existence for all.” Disabled here encompasses the physically disabled (people who are unable to walk, hear, or speak) as well as the mentally disabled. But they reject the title mentally disabled and prefer, instead, that of neurodivergent. Neurodiversity, a term coined by sociologist Judy Singer, expands to include several neurodevelopmental disabilities, from autism to Down Syndrome to bipolar disorder to ADHD. This category includes so many disabilities that, ultimately, blurs the boundaries dividing them. On the other hand, it protects individuals from being mistreated and disrespected for the sole fact that they are different from “normal” individuals.
Looking at the notion of disability from this perspective makes me think that I’m part of a world populated by more inhabitants than I had ever thought. So, what space do I occupy in this world? Do only physically disabled people need attention? Or, does every disabled person have a voice that deserves to be listened to fairly and considerately? Is there actually a difference between physical and mental? Is there actually a difference between stigmatization and medicalization? Reading about disability generated a lot of questions – a lot of questioning – in me, and they are questions worth thinking (hard and deeply) about.