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Open Screen 2022: Natalee Decker - CRIP FANTASY

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Image Description by the artist: 3 interactive 3D model viewers of fantasy mobility devices. Each is made up of a frame of curving and bulging tubes in bright blue, green and black, and puffy white quilted seat cover and tire texture. Each has a black radial star shape where a body might be placed in relation to the object in use. The 1st model is an abstract wheelchair (top left), the 2nd an electric scooter (top right) and the 3rd, a sort of rollator walker (bottom).

About the Project

Natalee Decker

About the work

CRIP FANTASY is a collection of work about assistive technologies and the bodies which employ them. As someone who is noticeably disabled, Natalee worries about their own desirability. The mobility devices Natalee use each day – such as walkers, wheelchairs, scooters, and quad canes – are both an extension of their body and symbolic of how the body is disparaged by conventional attitudes.

These are objects of freedom, yet they are often relegated to an aura of sterility, medicalisation, and pity. By creatively re-imagining fantasy crip technologies, Natalee explores the aesthetic possibilities of these objects while demanding the reconsideration of ableist social infrastructures.

Crip Fantasy allows re-imagined futures untethered by the realities of a body, attitudes, gravity, material – while also being grounded in a vital questioning of our present. Natalee fantasises of escape the tedious and limiting metrics of normalcy – from a world that tells them they are unwanted. They fantasize to indulge in a flamboyant embrace and accentuation of difference.

Crip bodies deserve recognition of their aesthetic power; crip bodies deserve desire. Crip Fantasy speaks to a future world where difference is celebrated and where disability is researched and understood more holistically, away from the hospitalisation and sterility and towards an approach that encompasses the mind, the body and the soul.

Audio Description

Image Description: An animation of a rotating CG fantasy wheelchair with a bubbly transparent blue seat, silvery tires, neon pink squiggly frame, and blue heart details as the footrest and under the seat.

Image Description: An animation of a rotating CG fantasy rollator walker of curvy blue lines, pink heart details attaching the 2 sides, and 4 silvery wheels.

About the Artist

Natalee Decker (they/them) is a Chicago born Los Angeles based artist. In June 2022 they will graduate from the University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in Design|Media arts and Disability Studies. Via a multidisciplinary practice, they span these two fields, investigating disability aesthetics, technology, and crip fantasy.

Their recent work utilizes 3D computer graphics to creatively reimagine the mobility devices – walkers, scooters, wheelchairs, canes – they use each day, imbuing them with fluid impractical form, vivid celebratory colour, and questions about desirability. Along with artist Cielo Saucedo they are creating a web archive of digital disabled embodiment using motion capture and 3D modeling software. This project relies on collaboration to create custom “terms of use,” challenging issues of safety, exclusion, and exploitation of disabled people in digital space. They recently built a VR piece reconstructing a queered model of the oil refinery their mother worked at for 30+ years which can be explored through interview recordings.

Natalee’s work also includes activism – in 2020 they co-created the UCLA Disabled Student Union working towards better equity and access on campus. They are passionate about mutual aid, social justice, and love. Natalee is a white, disabled, non-binary queer.

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