Other-Worlding [Queens Museum]

Our world is overwhelmingly centered around non-disabled humans. Rather than this singular overruling perspective, what if unity was co-built across species and disability status? Emilie L. Gossiaux constructs such a world, bringing to life an image from her imagination of her guide dog London dancing around a white cane maypole. Borrowing the phrase “other-worlding” from feminist scholar Donna Haraway in conceiving a just society that operates outside of hierarchies, Gossiaux proposes an alternative to the intertwined systems of capitalism and ableism that oppress humans and animals. In opposition to repressive structures, the artist’s fantastical installation and three related drawings render scenes of joy, liberation, and love.

Central to this exhibition is the white cane. A tool used by blind and low-vision individuals, the white cane is also a symbol of freedom. Here, Gossiaux transforms the white cane into a glistening maypole towering at 15 feet tall, three times the size of her own. Paying homage to the white cane, the artist plays with scale to emphasize its importance in providing agency and independence, bestowing it with a much-deserved larger presence and societal awareness.

The artist also creates a space of independence for London, her guide dog, who is transformed here into a woman-sized dog. Melding human and dog together, Gossiaux expands upon their interspecies relationship that is at once interdependent and liberating. The three Londons are unconstrained by the leashes that normally restrict them. Instead, they hold the leash handles in their hands, empowered to move at their own pace. 

Across this exhibition, elements of fantasy – dog-women, concurrently shining moon and sun, and a giant white cane – work together to amplify disability joy, autonomy, and a love that transcends boundaries. By immersing us in a dreamlike terrain, Gossiaux invites us to “other-world” with her. 

Emilie L. Gossiaux: Other-Worlding is organized by Sarah Cho, Assistant Curator.

Install shot of White Cane Maypole Dance 3 Londons and Moon
Install shot White Cane Maypole Face of red leash London pointing left horizontal
Install shot White Cane Maypole red leash + London hand
Install shot White Cane Maypole Red leash London from torso up, looking away from camera + Purple leash London to the right + flowers + 3 drawings horizontal
Install shot of 3 drawings Dancing, Again Flowers for London, Londons Dancing with Flowers
Dancing Again, 2023
Flowers for London, 2023
Londons Dancing with Flowers, 2023
Install shot of White Cane Maypole Dance from North wall
Install shot White cane maypole dance Purple leash London profile + 2 trees horizontal of body up
Install shot White Cane Maypole Dance cane tip and flowers and the tip of a paw horizontal
Install shot White Cane Maypole Dance Light green tree leaves from 45 degrees veritcal
Install shot White Cane Maypole Southeast corner two green trees + moon
Install shot White Cane Maypole Dance Yellow Leash London frontal view + west side trees + sun_full length
Install shot White Cane Maypole Dance Sun as if shot from where Purple leash london stands horizontal
Install shot White Cane Maypole Moon and side view of top of a green tree from east wall horizontal
Install shot White Cane Maypole Dance Purple leash London in profile + 1 east tree+ 2 south trees+ moon+ flowers_full length
Red leash London Full length shot
Install shot White Cane Maypole_Southwest corner 1 right-most tree on south wall + sun + 2 trees on west wall Yellow leash London, back of red leash London, and part of maypole are on the right side
Install Shot wide angle view from South gallery entrance