Investigations into Broken-ness

I went for a walk to see where the broken objects were.

Most things on the street were abandoned, not broken. Abandoned cigarette boxes, bottles, newspapers, gloves. I saw a broken window and a broken beer bottle. Both made of glass. Both smashed.

Broken suggests something was broken due to a violent act of breaking. It doesn’t include something that has been gently eroded, or something brought into existence as a broken object.

Broken means it is of little (or no) monetary value. Shops do not want to sell broken items. They do not want to be known as the sort of shop that sells broken items. Costumers return broken items, and complain, and ask for their money back.

A broken person; is less financially viable. Cannot work or contribute to the economy. Takes from the economy. Cannot fulfil their purposes and functions. Were broken in a single act of violence.

Broken-ness isn’t a choice, like deviance. If you are deviant and subversive, you may choose to reject ideas of ‘whole-ness’, or what society claims you should be doing, how you should be behaving. If you are broken you cannot be whole, so you either lament and let you self-esteem sink with the weight of the critics and medics and people around you … or you take it as an opportunity. You survive. Creatively.

Being Broken and Proud is about taking broken-ness and creating exciting, subversive identities, cultures and ways of doing things. Out of necessity, out of self love, out of defiance.

Disability, a certain type of ‘broken-ness’, makes us question how and why we do things from transporting ourselves to architecture to conversation to dressing to eating. It requires a radical re-working of systems and structures that are usually of benefit to all. If we structure society around disabled people, rather than non-disabled people, we may have a better society for everyone.


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