I talked with Guernica for their themed issue on the future of the body in late 2016. On prosthetics as performance, the common cultural tropes for describing disability, and why I stopped apologizing for not being an engineer.
Guernica: When I think about the future of the body, I also think about the future of my body—which is to be older, weaker, closer to death.
Sara Hendren: Pro-disability power and disability acceptance do not mean romanticizing age or bodily frailty. No one celebrates modern medicine and interventions more than me, including and perhaps especially the high-tech cusp of research around cancer or whatever it is. But I really do think that all states of the body bring with them closures and openings.
I want a technology that, yes, preserves independence in old age when it’s wanted. I want a technology that preserves health as long as it can, and augments health when it’s called for. But what I often call for, too, is technologies for interdependence. The enduring human always needs assistance. The goal is not, in other words, elimination of assistance or elimination of exchanges with one to another. The goal is thriving communities over the whole life cycle.
The whole thing is here.