This video brings together influential voices in disability rights and disability studies to document an emerging disability culture. A mix of performances, interviews, dramatic readings, and activist footage, Vital Signs features well-known disability rights advocates, poets and performance artists, and disability studies scholars.


The academics and artists in this film work with a social and minority model of disability and envision disability as a political, historical cultural identity rather than a medical malfunction or a personal tragedy. The documentary’s humor and vitality, as well as its alternation between commentary and performance, make it an effective learning catalyst.

Participants include performance artists Mary Duffy and Cheryl Marie Wade, writers Anne Finger and Kenny Fries, and scholars Harlan Hahn and Simi Linton. Some performances have intelligently deployed shock value--Duffy’s nude performance of the Venus de Milo, for example--and some of the language is "strong."


Grand Prize Winner, Rehabilitation International World Congress. Open -captioned.

Primary Source

Fanlight Productions, 4196 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02131; Tel: 800-937-4113;