Fun fact: before the nineteenth century, the word “normal” was only ever used by carpenters to describe a square.
Pulled from Rosemarie Garland-Thomson’s, “What can a body do?”, a not-so-fun fact when you consider its place in a history where European colonizers used language to organize society into binary constructs: white/black, superior/inferior, right/wrong, normal/abnormal.
Garland-Thomson references disability scholar Lennard Davis, who says that before the nineteenth century in Western culture, all bodies were considered less than “ideal”, so either you were a clumsy mass of imperfect flesh (in other words, you were alive) or you were a celestial god-like being bathed in otherworldly light (in other words, you were dead).
Lately, I’ve had norms, and ideals, and rules following me around like swarming midges and my social feed is causing them to multiply.
I have to put notes around the room to remind myself that rules can be broken, that there’s a world away from our phones, that there can be a world without binaries and shoulds or should nots. Also, it’s spring so I actually do have a midge problem.
I’m most aware of the noise when it’s absent – the first five minutes when I wake up, look at the tree outside my window and think one quiet thought: is this who I am?
The irony is that social media as a mechanism is binary, a system of ones and zeros. Or at least, I think it is.
You’re probably thinking, isn’t Creative Users building a social network?
which probably explains why I’m using midge metaphors.
Given that we need these tools, I want to believe there’s a better way. I want to believe that we can design these tools in a way that refuses to exploit our human need for connection and belonging for capital gain and that refuses to cater to the notion that our worth as artists is measured by how much content we produce.
We think Network Connector could be the start of a better way. If you haven’t had a chance yet, watch our demo, and send us your reaction directly by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or reply anonymously here.
You can also join Network Connector by adding your profile here. As an early adopter, you’ll have access to weekly news about opportunities in the arts as well as the opportunity to help inform the design and direction of the Network Connector app.