Our world is overwhelmingly centered around non-disabled humans. Rather than this singular overruling perspective, what if unity was co-built across species and disability status? Emilie L. Gossiaux constructs such a world, bringing to life an image from her imagination of her guide dog London dancing around a white cane maypole. Borrowing the phrase “other-worlding” from feminist scholar Donna Haraway in conceiving a just society that operates outside of hierarchies, Gossiaux proposes an alternative to the intertwined systems of capitalism and ableism that oppress humans and animals. In opposition to repressive structures, the artist’s fantastical installation and three related drawings render scenes of joy, liberation, and love.
Central to this exhibition is the white cane. A tool used by blind and low-vision individuals, the white cane is also a symbol of freedom. Here, Gossiaux transforms the white cane into a glistening maypole towering at 15 feet tall, three times the size of her own. Paying homage to the white cane, the artist plays with scale to emphasize its importance in providing agency and independence, bestowing it with a much-deserved larger presence and societal awareness.
Image: Installation view, Emilie L. Gossiaux, “White Cane Maypole Dance” 2023 / photo by Hai Zhang