Pete Mansell

Les had recommended that I look at the work of former OCA student Pete Mansell on a number of occasions. Unfortunately I had been unable to access his website and blog until quite recently.

His is an insider view of disability, and as such it would have been great to get some feedback from him about my project and how he felt my work was progressing (as a disabled person in the UK, he could have told me about how my representations were coming across to a different disabled audience, which would have been very interesting).

I was able to access his work and have found a number of interesting and inspiring works.

This is a very simple image, reminiscent of those projects that feature images of last meals ordered by inmates on death row (there are several of them, as far as I can recall). Nutrition by IV, I love the inclusion of the salt shaker!!

This is another great image, showing the artist’s workstation. The inclusion of the hand is what makes the image.

His website states:

Hello. This site documents my experience of paralysis through imagery. Pete is my name. You will see that paralysis is as much a cultural experience as it is a physiological one. 

Which is pretty much what I have learned from disability research. Anyway, I took a look at some of his other work. I like the way he goes from his body to his home, his street, his country, and leading up to his outlook, which is probably one of the best collages of disability experience I have seen:

And this poignant image he titles his community:

And finishes with the UPIAS statement that differentiates impairment from disability.

He is also tracing his family history though digitising his parents’ photo albums, which is an ‘interesting’ exercise in vernacular.

However, it has little meaning to me since I know nothing of his family history. This may be what the OCA assessors mean when they speak about conceptual thrust – why should I look at your images? Aren’t we all bored when we look at someone else’s holiday snaps? The relevance has to come from the context. I have presented vernacular images within narratives that are enhanced by their inclusion, and not simply digitised a family photo album.

2 thoughts on “Pete Mansell”

  1. Hi Carl, I’ve just spent an hour wondering over your blog: fascinating. The fact that you’re documenting about a subject experienced in a setting little known in the UK makes the context interesting from the get go.

    I particularly engaged with the images that formed assignment 3 where they spoke to me about the universal human need to participate in the usual social and familial things of life but that to do so when different required so much more effort.

    Of course the work is very different to mine: you are looking inward toward other people’s lives and documenting them through the lens whereas I was expressing my own feelings outwardly. I’ve come to your blog late but am now following it.

    Good luck with assessment.


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