In addressing notions of care, ableism, neuroethics and precarity within the semi domestic space of the gallery, Axioms of Care illuminates the psychedelic experience of disability. Highlighting aspects of hallucinogenic perceptions of time and duration induced by medication and pharmaceuticals while centering tactility as a healing method, Sharona Franklin uses the consciousness-expanding qualities of psychedelia in the performance of daily life rituals.
Just as mind-altering drugs enact self-submission, Franklin’s work is a radical acceptance of her bio-citizenship. She reflects on the dominion that bureaucracies and biopharmaceutical industries have over the bodies they sustain and nurture —like hers— while remaining cognizant of how those same powers can limit access to life-sustaining resources such as medications, air quality, and water. Connecting the mind-body complex, childhood PTSD and chronic childhood disease, Franklin’s “Drosophila Clocks” explore the relationship to crip time and pharmaceutical impacts on our circadian rhythm. Time, for people living with degenerative disease and disability, often takes on a psychedelic effect. Franklin, who has required transgenic pharmaceuticals to manage disease since childhood, questions the industry that allowed her to continue living, the same industry, when at its extreme — could be used to eradicate disability all together. Complicating the relations between different approaches to healing methodologies by intertwining psychedelic and plant-based medicine with the pharmaco-industrial complex, Franklin’s bioshrine sculptures are dehydrated gelatin suspensions of pills, syringes, metal and medicinal flowers that embody the tensions and contradictions of bio-pharmaceutical care. The installation of tufted wall pieces points to prenatal eugenics, biopharma, the anti-vax movement — at what costs will parents avoid caring for a disabled child? How can we better embrace and value the lives of children living with disabilities? What messages of encouragement or equality are we sending to kids with lifelong conditions?
For Franklin, psychedelia is total immersion. A complete, biocybernetic rewiring of how information is circulated. In the wake of a global pandemic, the need for a shared awareness of our vulnerabilities and our interdependencies is more pressing than ever in order to counter the prevailing capitalist understandings of resilience, wellness and self-care. This exhibition proposes ways of harnessing our own neuroplasticity by fostering a deeper understanding of how we interconnect chemically, physically and spiritually.
Curated by Laura Stellacci
Sharona Franklin (b. 1987) is a Canadian multidisciplinary disabled artist, writer, designer, consultant and advocate. Her work explores radical therapies, cybernetic craft, bio-ritualism, ecology, pharmacology, and social interdependence. Franklin’s practice coalesces discourses of disability, gender, class, and bio-citizenship. Franklin’s visual media practice is archived through social media platforms @paid.technologies, @star_seeded, @hot.crip, and @disabled_personals. Recent exhibitions and projects include a city-wide public art project with the City of Vancouver; Remai Modern, Saskatoon (CA); King’s Leap, New York, NY, an online solo exhibition with Printed Matter / St. Marks, New York; the Audain Gallery of Simon Fraser University, Vancouver; La Casa Encendida, Madrid; New Image Art Gallery, Los Angeles, and Flux Factory, New York.
Franklin will have her first institutional solo-exhibition at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts in February 2022.
Photocredit Isabelle Arthuis