Remarkable by Kelsie Acton

Video: Remarkable by Kelsie Acton

A square white piece of cloth on a brown laminate floor. Words are written in blue marker.

They say:

“But what I find remarkable about (the) disability community is the intention and effort to include all of the people to the fullest extent possible, not just most of the people when convenient.”

“Convenient” is spelt wrong.

The image fades and a view of me embroidering the fabric comes into focus. I’m alternating light green and dark green thread for each letter.

The fabric is now in an embroidery frame and in the centre of the picture. You can’t see my face, just my arms and legs to the right of the embroidery. I’m dressed in dark blue and black with turquoise slippers.

The motion is steady, repetitive, pulling the thread smoothly through and then the needle diving down. A pause as my hand darts behind the fabric and then the needle and the hands reappear and all of this repeats.

This quote (that I am embroidering) was given to me by my dear friend Ash McAskill and is a quote from a paper by Carrie Sandahl. In this paper Sandahl proposes that it is not just disability but impairment itself that is generative and artistic. Impairment reconfigures space and time, opening up new aesthetics and new ways of being in community.

Close ups of three pairs of hand embroidering fill the screen from top to bottom.

If you know how to look you can see my impairment in the embroidery. The letters are not the same size despite my careful attempts to lay out the text. I have run out of room for the word CONVENIENT and it is crammed into the right bottom corner. It occurs to me that this jumble (represents) the beautiful imperfection of disability leadership and disability community.

We do try to include all of the people to the fullest extent possible; sometimes that’s a little awkward and imperfect but we make it work and we learn from this. It takes a long time: hours of repetitive tasks and motions, done with care.

The completed embroidery appears in the centre as my stitching blurs away.  It is simple, plain, revealing nothing of the hours of movement that created it and there is beauty and charm in the lettering that swells and shrinks and just manages to fit itself on(to) the page.

Quote from Carrie Sandahl’s article Considering Disability: Disability’s Phenomenology’s Role in Revolutionizing Theatrical Space in the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism

Spring 2002

Remarkable by Kelsie Acton

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