Author Archives: Alex Haagaard

Alex is a queer, invisibly disabled independent scholar and designer. Their research interests include history and philosophy of medicine, philosophy of disability, crip technoscience, anarchist biohacking and invalid futures.
graphic representation of various disability dongles. Top Left stair climbing wheelchair. Top right "social emotion recognition" AR goggles. Bottom Left Sign language gloves. Bottom Right haptic shoes interfering with blind person's navigation.

Disability Dongle

I created the term “Disability Dongle” in 2019 to draw attention to the phenomenon of design and engineering students and practitioners who prototype “innovative” disability solutions. The definition satirizes an outcome in which designs or technologies “for” disabled people garner mainstream attention and accolades despite valid concerns disabled people have about them.  (read more...)

A smallfat nonbinary invalid sits naked on the floor, facing a blank wall. The grainy, greyscale silhouette of their back resembles a double bass more than a violin, its surface bowed by millions of misfiring neuromuscular junctions. Where a bass has f-holes that open the body up so it can resonate, the back is instead held together by two X-shaped pieces of kinesiology tape.

Complicating Disability: On the Invisibilization of Chronic Illness throughout History

At the time of writing, the world is entering the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic. As the highly contagious Omicron variant of the virus is causing cases to surge in numerous countries, media and public health narratives have been dominated by speculation that the virus appears to cause less severe illness and fewer deaths, and that this is the natural trajectory of a pandemic nearing its end: a virus continues to mutate and gradually evolves to be more transmissible and less virulent, eventually becoming endemic and mundane. Much of the general public has taken up the rhetoric of public health agencies, which assert that we should be encouraged by the fact that severe illness and death from the virus almost exclusively occur in the unvaccinated and those with pre-existing conditions (Dickinson 2022; Mateus and Murray 2022; Ominous 2022). This is necropolitics: society has designated it acceptable for certain groups of people to die (Mbembe 2019). (read more...)