From the project catalogue:
Disabled activist and media maker Alice Wong is the First Speaker in this compelling Assembly for the Future. Speaking from 2029, she is the Last Disabled Oracle, describing a world in which people with congenital disabilities are close to extinction due to technologies such as human gene editing. As part of the last generation with a neuromuscular disability, Wong shares the efforts of her fellow disabled oracles as they struggle to live as they are in a time when perfection is attainable through modifications and cures. In a culture that worships enhancement, health, youth, and beauty, disabled people in 2029 warn about the wisdom and lived experiences lost in the name of eliminating pain and suffering.
Oracles are not beloved – they are barely tolerated. They’re considered naysayers, exaggerating irrational concerns. Yet these are the people asking the most important of questions, such as: Who and what is left behind in the name of ‘progress’ and a better future? Where can we find resistance and acceptance and how do we sustain it? What does it mean that there were people in 2020 who couldn’t see a future for themselves in times of upheaval, genocide, and hate – and that there are still people nine years later who can’t see themselves in the future as well? What are the lessons learned from disabled people during the 2020 pandemic that should be taken seriously in 2029 as we experience multiple pandemics and natural disasters? What is the price of convenience and a ‘better chance at life’? How can our ancestors teach us about the future by sharing their stories and culture?
Time marches forward and there’s no stopping change. This doesn’t mean we can’t resist and fight for a place for all of us
Kanngieser A 2020 The last disabled oracle. Respondent to Alice Wong, with Kera Sherwood O'Regan. Curated by Alex Kelly and David Pledger. Bleed Festival, Artshouse Melbourne. 6 August.