In these uncertain and anxiety-provoking times, people are increasingly searching for sources of encouragement, pleasure, and validation around the legitimacy of their existence. One well that is often dipped into during these moments of doubt is ‘Inspiration Porn’.
The term – coined by late Australian disability activist Stella Young – refers to material that portrays disabled people as objects of inspiration, for the benefit of non-disabled people. Inspiration Porn occurs across various forms of media, and its problematic nature is largely unnoticed.
'InspoCam' is a new work in development that explores the choreography and consumption of Inspiration Porn. It interrogates our tendency to objectify others in the quest for our own personal gratification, and questions ‘when and under what circumstances might this be ok?’
Due to the sensitive nature of this work, we've made it password protected. Please request the password here.
A message from Riana:
Thank you for experiencing the work!
In making it, I was considering the ways in which we position ourselves in relation to each other, and how we are positioned by other forces eg. by forms of media, like Inspiration Porn. And what that does to our relationships with each other, and with ourselves. I am interested in what the work made you think and feel, what you recognized and what you reacted to. Anything you would like to share would be very much appreciated!
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Viewing Recommendation ~
In order to experience the work as intended by the artist, the most optimal viewing conditions are solo, in a darkened, private space with headphones and at full screen.
Content Warning ~
Viewers are advised that this work contains ableist attitudes, self-infantilisation, self-objectification, references to adult online viewing contexts, eating and constriction of the throat.
This video work contains moving and still images, text and music; very often playing simultaneously.
Closed Captions are available for this work. You can activate them by clicking on the bottom right of the video player.
One-to-one, audio-described experiences of the work are also available upon request. Please email [email protected] to arrange a time.
Riana Head-Toussaint is an interdisciplinary disabled artist, who uses a manual wheelchair for mobility. Her work often crosses traditional artform boundaries, and exists in online and offline spaces. She employs choreography, performance, video, sound design, immersive/participatory installation and audience activation to create works that interrogate entrenched systems, structures and ways of thinking; and advocate for social change. The enduring concerns across her works are agency, representation, the limits of empathy, and how these impact people across different marginalised intersections. Her work is deeply informed by her experiences as a disabled woman of Afro-Caribbean descent, and her training as a legal practitioner.
Creator, Performer, Videographer, Editor and Sound Designer: Riana Head-Toussaint
Outside Eye: Imogen Yang
AV Technical Consultant: Stephen Dobson
Post-Production Sound: James Brown
Online Technical Producer: Akil Ahamat
Producer: Veronica Barac-Gomez
Curator: Dr Jessica Olivieri
This work was originally commissioned by Utp, and its initial phase of development took place at PACT Centre for Emerging Artists for their 2020 Artist Residency Program.
Riana Head-Toussaint, InspoCam, 2020