A Striking Installation Reveals How Ableist Design Can Be


"For many of you reading this, the world was built for your body. You don’t have to think when you climb the stairs; the counter comes up to just the right height. These taken-for-granted conveniences are thanks to the increasing tendency of designers, architects, and planners toward “standardization” over the course of the 20th century. But for many millions, life isn’t so simple. One of these individuals is artist and activist Emily Barker, whose exhibition Built to Scale recently opened at Murmurs in downtown Los Angeles.


Barker explains how “creating a standard means someone like me deviates from and is oppressed by it.” The exhibition’s pièce de résistance, “Untitled (Kitchen),” forces viewers to experience what this feels like. Made in collaboration with Tomasz Jan Groza, these scaled-up cabinets tower above the viewer. Despite their literal transparency, they’re frustratingly inaccessible. The feeling is that of being a child. It’s also the view from a wheelchair."

-Brandon Sward, Hyperallergic


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