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Ju Gosling, Design4Life, 2008

Ju Gosling’s exhibition ‘Abnormal’ is at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) at Mill Hill in North London until the end of the month. Ju has been artist-in-residence at the NIMR, looking at how scientists regard disability and “normality” and whether there is a ‘scientific model of disability’ as distinct from the much-discussed ‘medical model‘. Her residency has included a series of conversations with the scientists Malcolm Logan and Evelien Gevers – recorded on the project’s website. Ju concludes that there is a ‘Scientific Model of Disability’ held within society – disability is abnormal: science will ‘cure’ it – but she notes that this model is neither scientific nor reflects the views of individual scientists. She argues that it is, in fact, extremely unhelpful to scientists, placing unnecessary pressures on them and hampering their work. Whilst some of the artworks in this exhibition have unequivocal messages and the wall-texts are highly informational, the conversations that the artist has had with the scientists, and the context in which she has been working, has led to a series of works that come across as thoughtful and enquiring, rather than polemical.

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