Finnegan Shannon’s Do you want us here or not? is a roving public installation of seating with screen-printed text that honours the need for accessible seating for all bodies and abilities in arts spaces and at all programming events. The project began as zine drawings, and has since transformed and traveled internationally as an ongoing series that encourages equitable access to experiences of art for visitors with various levels of ability who may otherwise feel pushed away or unwelcome without these key tools of support. The collection of seating contains thoughtful phrases developed by Shannon, focused on making visitors feel welcomed and validated by their needs. The series is therefore in consistent conversation with all of the biennial installations and programming events, serving as a sustained reminder that all events, especially in public spaces, should be thinking about a diverse range of accessibility considerations. Working to actively subvert and dismantle notions of ableism, Shannon encourages a sense of camaraderie and solidarity by “sitting if you agree.” In thinking about sitting and resting as a form of protest, the project gives a voice to the often internal experiences of folks with disabilities by making these statements in public spaces.
Finnegan Shannon is an artist. They experiment with forms of access that intervene in ableist structures with humor, earnestness, and rage. Some of their recent work includes Anti-Stairs Club Lounge, an ongoing project that gathers people together who share an aversion to stairs; Alt Text as Poetry, a collaboration with Bojana Coklyat that explores the expressive potential of image description; and Do You Want Us Here or Not, a series of benches and cushions designed for exhibition spaces. They have done projects with Banff Centre, Queens Museum, the High Line, MMK Frankfurt, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, and Nook Gallery. Their work has been supported by a Wynn Newhouse Award, an Eyebeam residency, and grants from Art Matters Foundation and The Canada Council for the Arts. Their work has been written about in Art in America, BOMB Magazine, and the New York Times. They live and work in Brooklyn, NY.