Coney Island, NY
Not just overcoming physical limits, but transforming them into a peculiarity, an art. Living diversity as a treasure, not a restriction. Discovering that what’s usually defined as ‘anomaly’ is actually a turning point. Freaks are people winning, heroically, on morphological adversities. They are part of a lively community rooted since decades in Coney Island, the area of New York historically designated to fun and entertainment. It is a victory achieved by courage, but also by tons of irony, and a certain pride. Just like a superhero who has just found out about his powers, and is scared about them, but suddenly realizes that they are not only acceptable, but glorious! Some of the so-called freaks transformed their disease in an incredible credential, others made a political and social statement through their physical diversity, some others with ordinary aesthetic features decided to experiment with the limits of their body by swallowing swards, nailing their noses or bending unbelievable steel bars with bare hands. Exhibition of physical anomalies started in the 16th century, but it was only at the beginning of 1900 that it became pure entertainment, and since then Coney Island Side Show is a major milestone. However its protagonists are definitely not the subdued ‘freak of nature’ in a negative assumption, they actually are a colored and strong community bringing up the flag of proud diversity.