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A Magic Trick

On Oct. 30, 2021, I helped organize to celebrate the closing of CHAPTER 4OUR: Abundance at Het HEM in Zaandam, the Netherlands. I was in residence with this show in May & June and my summer was majorly inflected by the many valences of “abundance.”

I thought of the Venn diagrams between abundance, Halloween, and access and what might be in the shared middle space. A magic trick. The idea came to me when I was talking with Lisa Prentice for her article about our parties in BlackFlash magazine. She said she loved this notion of “access magic” I use when describing our parties. As if you snap your fingers and – poof – access. Which is a joke that lands for activists working against the ableist status quo (as if anything works so quickly in our work!). But then I started to think about how sure enough for some people, just being in an access-oriented space really does the trick that quickly. And I thought of the slow magic, too, the way we’re building a network of people and processes for drawing out sophistication and complexity in how we conjure access.

I decided to perform a magic trick. But I had no idea how to do that. I was hypnotized by the semantic richness: sleight of hand, deception as a kind of trust with a magician, making things dis/appear. I worked up a video piece as my trick. It’s a cop-out I can live with because it came together so quickly with so much conceptual density (one way I know I’m dealing with magic is that I can’t myself make any of that synchronicity happen).

I put it here because I want to keep working on this draft. I would love to know what this brings up for you and what you think I should do with it next.