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What Can a Body Do?: How We Meet the Built World

Sara Hendren

Sale Special Price $24.30 $27.00


The built world - furniture and tools, living rooms and city streets - is constructed on a set of hidden assumptions. The design of a chair, the shape of a doorknob, the steps to a house: nearly everything human beings make and use is assistive technology, meant to bridge the gap between body and world. Yet unless, or until, the misfit between our body and the world is acute enough to be considered “disability,” we may never stop to consider—or reconsider—the ideas on which the everyday world is based.

In a series of fascinating stories and provocative explorations that draw on her own practice and cutting-edge disability theory, Sara Hendren translates this secret language of design and invites us to reboot it. What might a technology based on adaptation rather than “normalcy” look like? Can architecture foster interdependence as well as independence? How might a city be engineered to help us all better navigate our common terrain? By rendering familiar objects and environments newly strange and wondrous, What Can a Body Do? helps us to imagine a world that better meets the extraordinary range of our needs and desires.
Contributor Bio(s)
Sara Hendren is an artist, design researcher, and writer who teaches design for disability at Olin College of Engineering. Her work has been exhibited at the Victoria & Albert, MOMA, and the Cooper Hewitt, and her writing and design work have been featured in The New York Times, FastCo Design, and on NPR, among other places. She lives in Cambridge, MA with her husband and children.
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