I am at an event in Zurich, Switzerland, where artist Eva Egermann presents the second issue of Crip Magazine, a DIY publication about disability culture. Edited by Egermann herself, both the first and the second issue contain contributions in German and English (some of them translated in both languages) that encompass artworks, poetry, essays and interviews. In her editiorial, Egermann describes how she experienced a joyful disability community in hospitals and youth clubs, where disabled children managed to establish their own secret languages, their own insider humour and their own modes of social gatherings. In a society that projects constant suffering onto disabled people, crip communities and crip culture work against these projections and expand our horizons around disability, and the Crip Magazine is part of this wider project.
Some contributions, for example a conversation between artists Petra Kuppers and Neil Marcus, expand conversations around disability culture that are already familiar to me as someone who has mainly worked in an academic and UK-based disability arts context. Notable here are also three separate contributions that deal with crip time, which critique a normative understanding of time and make a compelling argument that the way we, disabled people, expand, interrogate and make use of time is one of the key elements that binds us together as a community.
Other contributions deal specifically with a German or Austrian context, and add a fascinating layer for anyone who is more familiar with disability history and art in the UK or the US. Especially compelling is an interview with Petra Fuchs, an educational historian, in which she discusses two female disabled pioneers, Hilde Wulff and Marie Gruhl. Both women fought against segregated schooling for disabled children in the 1920s, 30s and 40s, making considerable progress towards better school opportunities for disabled children. In the interview, Fuchs discusses the links between segregated schooling and the NS regime, and what place ‘cripple activism’ had in Austria and Germany during the period this regime. It is the pairing of these historical pieces and the contemporary artistic contributions, such as illustrations, poetry and photo essays, that emphasise the richness and resilience of disability culture in Crip Magazine.
While I managed to buy a physical copy of the magazine during the event, the whole content is available as a free, accessible PDF download that also features image descriptions. The whole magazine is printed in the typeface Dyslexic, which is especially easy to read for people with dyslexia, and also looks beautiful on the page.
Both issues are available for free on the Crip Magazine website.