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Critical Practice

Adri São Bento

We share a structure of thinking, communicating, and behaving that is based on stereotypes and stigma – what we call “the normal” and it’s disabling the environment. Based on Butler’s theorization of words as norms of language that cyclically shape our comprehension, communication and behaviour, I  present 3-dimensional capacitation to the disabled environment where Crip-tical thinking would work to examine the disabilities of the environment; Crip-tical communication would transautonomously expand the intelligibility. In other words, neologisms and changing the context of already existent concepts would cognitively emancipate us; and Crip-tical practice would artistically turn normality obsolete. As art has the power to trigger change and produce reality without necessarily conforming to the norms, by communicating beyond words.



I am feeling ill. My disease is capitalism.

It teaches us evolution is achieved by involution. It exhausts us and the cure only seeks to maintain the capacity to work while still sick. Capitalism is fooling us. Making us starve for pleasure and feeding us with pain. It is a journey that never ends. We always want more and more, but excess destroys our experience of pleasure and costs us inequality.

It pushes us to disassociate the self from the other which helps us to digest the self-violence we imply in others with no regrets. The process of otherness is sustaining a hierarchical system that promotes a delusion of value, where some bodies are more valuable than others and only some have the right to speak, only some have a seat at the table. This promised happiness is not achieved by improvement but by exclusion. Every abnormality must disappear. The strategy to build this promoted utopia is creating heterotopias of deviance as Foucault defined it. The disabled body is submitted to this process all the time. Either someone’s abnormality is corrected by the medical system or the disabled person is excluded.

We are taught to consider disabled people lack autonomy. Becoming disabled would also be becoming dependent on others. But we all depend on others in all aspects of our lives. Everything each one of us is or owns was provided or taught by the environment they belong to. In a system that promotes individualism, creates the illusion of the autonomous self, and pushes us to become radically independent, we forget about what is supporting us to achieve our autonomy. The compulsory able-bodiedness of the capitalist ideology makes us understand assistance as extraordinary. However, there is nothing extra about helping others. Assisting disabled people is also taking care of ourselves, taking care of our social body. We are all connected. Interdependency is the mother of existence.

Adri São Bento (1997) is a Portuguese interdisciplinary artist working with a variety of media including video, performance and sculpture.

Adri is currently based in London and is completing a MA in Contemporary Art Practice at the Royal College of Art. They are also an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Representative of their MA Programme and a Just Like Us Ambassador.

Their first solo exhibition was Dual at K11 Paiol Azul, in Porto (2019) and they have also participated in group exhibitions and residencies in Portugal, UK and online.

Their practice develops from their experience as a crip, queer person and aims to contribute to a more inclusive and healthier environment for those considered ‘outside the norm’, by critically reflecting on the structures shaping the contemporary world.


Image Description: Adri is smiling at the camera while holding a black and white 'they/them' pronouns pin between their teeth. They are olive-skinned and have dark brown eyes and short green curly hair. They are wearing round taupe glasses, a black t-shirt and a larimar necklace.

Available on Shopify


I connected two TENS pads to my dominant arm and proceeded to write columns of the phrase “Just Do It” on a sheet of refill paper. The shocks cause my arm and hand to move involuntarily, changing my handwriting. I gradually increase the intensity of the voltage, which makes my writing illegible.

Medium:

Drawing, pen on paper

Size:

210 x 297 mm/each

This live performance will also happen during RCA 2022 Graduate Show. More info will be available on Instagram @adrisbento


Images description: Adri performing at the Dyson Gallery during the White Table Takeover pop-up exhibition.

Adri is dressed in black and sitting in a blue chair at a white table with remote control, a pen and A4 sheets of paper on the top. There is a white wall behind them. 

In the first image, some people are watching the performance. Adri is setting up the black and blue TENS pads in their left arm.

In the second, Adri is jumping in the chair due to the contractions in their arm.

In the last one, Adri is holding their hands together while trying to write on the paper.


Photography by Heyse Ip

Medium:

Live Performance

Size:

aprox. 40 min
Film stillTop view of a wooden table, showing Adri's hands writing on an A4 sheet of paper. The remote control is upside down on the right side of the sheet.
Film still3/4 perspective of the table. The right hand is increasing the voltage of the TENS pads on the remote control. The pen is falling off the left hand. Adri's face doesn't appear.
Film stillClose-up of Adri's face looking down. Click on the image to watch the video.

2021-2


Performer Adri São Bento

Director Adri São Bento

Producer Adri São Bento

DoP Roddy Canas

Camera Assistant Sarra Grillo-Henry

Sound Assistants Roddy Canas, Sarra Grillo-Henry

Video Editor Adri São Bento

Assistant Video Editors Roddy Canas, Gill Dibben

Audio Editor Adri São Bento

Assistant Audio Editor Tim Olden


Medium:

Moving Image

Size:

4 min 51 sec
Sample of casted abutment cover (0.9x0.9x0.4 cm)outside view
Sample of a casted abutment cover (0.9x0.9x0.4 cm)Inside view
Snail ShellPresentation sugestion. a small black abutment cover (0.9x0.9x0.4 cm) inside a clear plastic bag (11x22 cm) with a printed yellow square (check description below).
InvoiceSample of Invoice. It is customized to each purchase.

2022

Abutment cover 0.9 x 0.9 x 0.4 cm

Plastic bag 11 x 22 cm

Invoice 11 x 22 cm

Limited Edition

Available on Shopify

20% of the sales will be donated to the Disabled Students Network.


Technical Support: Matt Fowkes, Phoebe Baines, Rosemary Anrude, Romane Courdacher, Fiona MacCallum.


An original abutment cover was sold to me with the hearing device. I was told it is very important to use it on my implant when the hearing device is not anchored. However, it is so tiny and falls off so easily that it becomes useless. They sell a useless bit of plastic as something very important, so we feel that we need to keep buying it once we lose it.

These works are reproductions of an abutment cover I bought and the plastic bag that comes with it. A personalized invoice is also included informing about the cheapest price this equipment is being sold. Both the plastic bag and invoice designs were inspired by the original ones. The abutment cover was cast innumerable times until the mould degraded to the point the shape of the casted cap is unrecognizable.

Each casted cover is different. Its shape depends on the casting process and the degradation of the mould.


Description of the yellow square: At the top, the Snail Shell's logo is centred with the brand name underneath. 

In the centre, there's the following text:

"Abutment cover

This is an abutment cover for the hearing implant that is directly screwed to your skull.

Use it when your sound processor is not anchored in order to protect the abutment from dirt.

Use it when you are sleeping, but don’t move.

It will fall off. And you will lose it.

Use it when washing your hair, but don’t touch it.

It will fall off. And you will lose it.

Use it because it’s beautiful.

But it will fall off. And you will lose it.

Once it gets lost, order a new one."

On the bottom of the square, there's the slogan "Pay now. And always"


Logo description: a small dotted deformed oval within a dashed deformed oval, within a continuous lined deformed oval.

Medium:

Plastic and paper

Size:

11x22 cm
4 equidistant seats around a circular table with a square hole in the middle. All made in birch plywood. All the elements are connected by a satin grey metal structure. neither the table nor the seats have legs.
4 people interacting with the sculpture according to the instructionsThanks to Sarra Grillo-Henry, JungEun Yang, Ziyi Zhu & Julie Dusuel for interacting with the work. Photography by Christoph Jones
Detail

2018-22


A structure of four seats connected to a table, but neither the seats nor the table has legs.

The audience is invited to interact with this object in accordance with the instructions at the door.


Instructions on the door

Notes: Please, be sure there is a facilitator with you before interacting with the work.

Not suitable for people with mobility impairments.


1- Form a group of 4 people. All with the ability to squat.

2- Each one of you should insert your feet between the table and the seat.

3- Simultaneously, hold the metal bars and raise the structure above your knees.

4- Check if everyone is comfortable with the weight of the object.

5- If not, together place the structure carefully back to the floor.

If yes, sit all together while holding the metal bars.

6- Enjoy!

7- To get out, reverse the process. Do so simultaneously as soon as one of you expresses the wish to do so.

8- Thank you for your participation!


Technical support Jake McCombe, Ian Whittaker, Richard Watkins, Nick Lott, Andrew Richardson, Luke Paine, Tom Railton, Dilesh Patel & Jueyi Chen.

Medium:

Interactive Sculpture - Plywood and metal

Size:

variable dimensions (object 199x199x19 cm)