Connolly was born without legs, a condition known as sporadic birth defect. He uses his camera to stare back at those people who stare at him on the street. Since he travels the globe as an X Games athlete and skier, his pictures show people from many different cultures, all in the act of staring at him. They are all taken from a low position, since Connolly prefers to use a skateboard to get round rather than a wheelchair.
Titling the images as simply as Two Men; Split, Croatia (2007) Connolly documents the stares people from all over the world and from all walks of life subject him to. Although in an interview he admits that he himself is guilty of staring: “You know, if I see someone that doesn’t look, you know, looks particularly strange on the street I’m gonna stare… I’m not above that by any means,” his images empower him to stare back, and thus work in a kind of activist way.
“People tend to invent and share their own narratives about him. During his travels Connolly has been mistaken for a holy man, a member of a carnival act and an Iraq War veteran. People who encounter him tend to stare, but by snapping a photo of their reaction Connolly succeeds in shifting the focus from himself, and making a statement about human nature.” (ABC News)
Another form of performative activism I found was the sporting of T-shirts with a message:
This popular form of getting a message across works really well, since the messages are both textual and visual, self-referential and laconic.