This Set of Actions is a Mirror

Monday, February 22Wednesday, March 03
United States

Open Captions
Two videos from the program "New Channels of Access" include audio descriptions. More information below.

Referencing a phrase from Carolyn Lazard’s video artwork A Recipe for Disaster (2018), This Set of Actions is a Mirror is a multipart look at expressions of disability culture and politics in artists’ moving image.

Organized by Minh Nguyen and Liza Sylvestre. 

Featuring films and videos by Carolyn Lazard, Leroy Moore Jr., Sharon Snyder, David Mitchell, Liza Sylvestre, Joseph Grigely, Christine Sun Kim, Thomas Mader, and Zeinabu irene Davis, these two screenings forge connections between cinema’s oft-compartmentalized political and formal aspects, mapping out a framework for accessibility that is conceptual and generative. Collectively, the works explore how artists have responded to sensory hierarchies and assumptions implicit in the media and, by extension, society at large.

New Channels of Access
Multiple artists, 1995–2018, USA, 72 minutes, open captions
Christine Sun Kim and Thomas Mader's Classified Digits (2016) and Joseph Grigely's Untitled (Salerno's Pizza) (2004) include audio descriptions.
Streaming February 22–28, Gene Siskel Film Center Virtual Cinema

New Channels of Access gathers together short videos by Carolyn Lazard, Leroy Moore Jr., Sharon Snyder, David Mitchell, Liza Sylvestre, Joseph Grigely, Christine Sun Kim, and Thomas Mader to explore the last three decades of creative struggles and expressions within disability culture and politics. Through a variety of means and perspectives, these works expand and complicate systems of communication, particularly in regard to film and video, while examining the practices (and systemic failings) of accessibility and accommodations. This program is organized in the spirit of Mitchell and Snyder’s insistence that disability subjectivities “are not just characterized by socially imposed restrictions, but productively create new forms of embodied knowledge and collective consciousness” (Biopolitics of Disability, UMichigan Press, 2015). Program includes: Classified Digits (Christine Sun Kim and Thomas Mader, 2016); Untitled Conversation (Salerno’s Pizza) (Joseph Grigely, 2004);  Vital Signs: Crip Culture Talks Back (Sharon Snyder and David Mitchell, 1995, excerpt); Captioned: Channel Surfing (Liza Sylvestre, 2017); Invisible Man (Leroy Moore Jr., 2018); and A Recipe for Disaster (Carolyn Lazard, 2018).

Zeinabu irene Davis, 1999, USA, 95 minutes, ASL, open captions
Streaming February 25–March 3, Gene Siskel Film Center Virtual Cinema

Renowned for its depiction of Black Deaf lives and expansive reimagining of the cinematic form, Zeinabu irene Davis’s exquisite 1999 film stars Michelle Banks, founder of Onyx Theatre Company in New York City, the first Deaf theatre company for actors of color. The film tells the stories of two Black couples—each, a deaf woman and a hearing man—falling in love at the start and end of the 20th century. As both couples draw closer, they must also navigate the intertwined—and enduring—forces of racism, ableism, and economic disparity. Using title cards, photographic montages, and reenactments of early Black silent films, Davis charts a new path for the future of narrative film, one that embodies an ethos of accessibility by embracing the endless aesthetic possibilities of cinema itself.


Panel discussion with Dustin Gibson, Robert McRuer, and Liza Sylvestre, moderated by Minh Nguyen
Thursday, February 25, 7:00 pm CT, Gene Siskel Film Center Virtual Cinema
This event will have live captions and ASL interpretation.

Join us for a cross-disciplinary discussion with community organizer Dustin Gibson, queer theorist and Crip Theory (NYU Press, 2006) author Robert McRuer, and This Set of Actions is a Mirror curators Liza Sylvestre and Minh Nguyen that situates the screenings within broader disability justice discourse and movements.


For access requests, visit

SAIC students registered with the DLRC should contact a DLRC staff member at to discuss their accommodations needs.


The School of the Art Institute of Chicago recognizes the activism and advocacy of our colleagues with disabilities working to dismantle exclusionist and ableist culture, prior to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 and ongoing today. SAIC is committed to accessibility, equity, and sharing work made by artists with disabilities through this program and other efforts; nevertheless, it acknowledges there is much work to be done.