Risk And Rupture # 1: Travis Lau

Curvature is a collaboration between Philadelphia-based photographer, Dennis Sweeney, and poet Travis Lau. This project deliberately places photographic portraits alongside lyric poetry to explore the interconnections between scoliosis-related disability and queerness. These dyadic works seek to challenge the conventions of traditional portraiture and modeling, which tend to privilege certain able bodies deemed aesthetically beautiful. How do we represent a queer body in pain? How might that body have its own aesthetic or even resist visual and even textual representation? This project attempts to embody the late Tobin Siebers’ commitment to a disability aesthetic that “refuses to recognize the representation of the healthy body”–and its definition of harmony, integrity, and beauty–as the sole determination of the aesthetic.


Epistle to the Body in Pain
I am amazed, body, that you have
not buckled into ruins,
you who bear with
the manifold
impressions that
become wholly
different marks
when given the
proper conditions.
Damnable gestation,
this thing called stigma:
repeated strikings because
the word is so much like a lash.


Mind what accretes,
for wounds may bear

more than strings of
pearls: the very glint

of a theory pursing
its lips at the ways

that world –
deafening in the

face of a din, this
soft tissue.



Mark my
steps aleatory:
ippo, ippo
so unlike
the gliding
I was taught
by staff.
Yet I still
dare to long,
to crave a
place in the
even if there
may be none so
shaped like me.


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