Wheelchair Rope Suspension

Christina here…

I did this the other day:


clicky to embiggen


Part performance art, part kink, part disability awareness.

There’s a phrase people with disabilities and people who care about people with disabilities tend to dislike: “Wheelchair-bound”. People aren’t bound by wheelchairs, or bound to wheelchairs. Wheelchairs set people free. They don’t entrap people. They are a tool for independence.

Society binds us by telling us what we can and cannot do. The environment binds us with built and natural barriers. We bind ourselves by believing we are unable.

Yet here I am, bound by ropes to my wheelchair – or maybe it’s the other way around, and the wheelchair is bound to me.  I’m flying, being held aloft by the same ropes, free and floating.  I’m completely at the mercy of people around me to make sure I am safe, yet allowing yourself to trust other people to keep you safe is strangely freeing.

I think this smacks “wheelchair bound” in the face.

Learn more about Christina and follow her @ziztur.

(I’m an occupational therapist. I’ve been repairing and using wheelchairs since I was 15.)

About christinastephens
  • JSC_ltd

    I’m an occupational therapist. I’ve been repairing and using wheelchairs since I was 15.

    Don’t try this at home, IOW.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ziztur Christina

      You can, just make sure you have a competent rope rigger with you.

      • http://www.storytellingshrine.blogspot.com/ Valerie C

        “just make sure you have a competent rope rigger with you.”

        I’m volunteering my services for any local switches or subs. Just, shamelessly throwing that out there. :p

        Kink commenting aside, I like the meaning of it of the piece and the way it’s set up. Art critique time – cause this can’t just be about kink no matter how much fun that is. Low camera, high subject, upper-left and central composition, darkened edges – goreat composition overall but I would desaturated the background further. Also I think that you, the model, would have been better in much saturated clothing – a blue or orange to better connect with the wheel chair. Blue to match with the wheelchair to connect with it (it being bound to you?) – orange if you wanted to separate from it (freedom from?). Final art critique is the too even lighting on the model. Not dramatic enough. More shadows and contrasts to better present form.

  • http://reasonableconversation.wordpress.com Kaoru Negisa

    That is absolutely amazing. I’ve seen a lot of rope work, and this may be the most original yet. Great statement, great way to make it. I also like that there are places where the rope binds to you or binds you to the chair and not the suspension point. It really gives the impression that you and the wheelchair are of a piece, not two separate entities.

  • http://www.improbablejoe.blogspot.com Improbable Joe

    Ummmm… you could always reclaim “wheelchair bound” in the sense of “outward bound, with wheelchair!”… not because it is a good idea, but because I read it that way and then suffered a bit of cognitive dissonance reading the rest of it. Probably because of the bondage aspect too. I used to be a fair hand at shibari.

  • vicarofartonearth

    I am so happy to find my own people in Atheist/free thinker world. When people used to call me wheelchair bound I told them I am not into s&m sex.

    I can’t wait for a piece on differently able or challenged, both able bodied terms put upon us.

    This is my first visit, I have earmarked it. It is so rewarding after forty years of fighting for disability rights to find young smart people with disabilities–the garbage was worth it. Thank you.

  • http://humanisticjones.blogspot.com HumanisticJones

    Okay, as a rope enthusiast that’s very new to suspension work I’m in awe of that suspension. Just… wow. Props to the rigger and Christina!

  • Alasdair

    OK, that is, quite simply, fucking awesome. That is all.

  • http://www.twitter.com/WCLPeter WCLPeter

    I’m one of those people who just don’t “get” art, in the end I either like a piece or I don’t.

    This I like. I’d hang this on my wall.

    You should totally see if you could get it submitted for one of them atheist / skeptic calendars people put out.

  • kantalope

    Photoshop out the ropes and claim you were bar hopping.