Arseli Dokumaci

This project focuses a new theory of affordances that is developed through a critical disability and performance lens (Bloomfield/Latham/Vurdubakis 2010; Gibson 1986). Through parallels to be drawn between the creative space of aesthetic performance and the performance of everyday life lived with disability, this new theory situates affordances in the improvisatory space of performance and focuses on the notion of “micro-activist affordances” as a way to understand mundane acts of world-building that could emerge from encounters with a world of “disorienting affordances.”

Experiencing disability is inherently disorienting. The environment, as years of disability activism have shown us, is built with a very limited conception of the human being in mind. But the environment can also be disorienting when experiencing bodily pain, chronic disease and debilitation. I argue that disability, in all of its various manifestations, is experienced as the shrinking of the environment and its readily available affordances. But, as I shall also argue, precisely at such moments of shrinking, something else happens: When the environment is narrowed in its offerings the creative space of performance (on or offstage) opens up to afford other possibilities. This very potential of invention is precisely how I conceptualize everyday lives lived with disability as analogous to the reimagined space of aesthetic performance and its reorientations.

This project will explore micro-activists’ affordances in relation to media ecologies, crip hacks, and everyday improvisations (Dokumaci 2020; Dokumaci 2016).