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> > Gini

Artist and wordsmith, whose work engages with issues of access, from acknowledged physical needs to perceived symbolic exclusions. After being selected as one of DAO's New Voices in 2011, Gini's online presence has become an integral part of her arts practice

Re-imagining Wheelchairs

18 March 2012

Blog

pen and ink drawing of a distressed bird

Last weekend I attended a performance related workshop; I had completed two application forms, one for me and one for the chair. Currently the chair, my chair, and I are in a difficult relationship because I never quite got over my month with the skinny-wheeled Japanese model. The workshop was fun, creative and quite demanding. I poked and prodded at personal boundaries as we explored ways of working autobiographically. During the process and all through this week I have been busy in my...

Comments: 4

For better or worse

11 April 2012

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Japanese trainline map inspired by the iconic London Underground map.

 I'm planning my next trip to Japan and I hope this time to be bringing back my very own skinny-wheeled chair. Will it actually make a difference to my life? Being in Japan opened my eyes to the realisation that I have accepted too many restrictions without questions; shouldered the burden of inequality as if I deserved it and run out of energy to care. When I acquired my first manual wheelchair, I was overwhelmed with emotion. The gift of mobility was magical and although it took months...

Comments: 1

Triptychos, Crow, dammit, Crow

30 April 2012

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The box in this blog is open, the colourful peacocks are on view, so the text in a heart shaped frame has been added in the bottom right hand corner.

Crow, dammit, Crow. Box 3 and the final part of Triptychos  is heart-shaped and Schiaparelli pink, except for the outside of the lid. The box, 21 cms across and 4 cms deep, has a teal coloured lid decorated with colourful peacocks adorned with hearts instead of eyes. When you open the box you will find, not a love letter, but a Christmas card. Mary and Joseph hold each other anxiously as the baby in the wheelchair peers up at them. The angel is of course, adoring; the sheep proprietorial...

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My very own one-woman Shape Open Fringe.

4 May 2012

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pale, fine lines curling, floating on a turquoise background

I once heard Anish Kapoor say something along the lines of "my art works because I have nothing to say" which struck me as very odd. Triptychos Boxed is a glance at the aspirations of faith and mythology from a wheelborne perspective. A collection of previously loved small boxes containing references to aspects of faith, they also focus on the 'get up and go' that, chairborne, I both long for and reject as irrelevant. This is my first conscious attempt to make work that 'has nothing...

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Tokyo. One day

17 May 2012

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Long thin roots, in mullti-colour dark shades reaching down into a grey-green space.

I'm back. Tokyo called and here I am. Sumida, rocking and rolling, reflects my excitement. This time the cherry blossom is over and Tokyo is greening -  punctuated by bright splashes of pink azalea; while Sumida, the river, is followed by a ribbon garden borrowed from an English country cottage. Sky Tree stretches high into warm city air, awaiting it's grand opening on the 22nd May; it is visible for miles and miles, looking down on the 53 floors of the Mori Building  and the red...

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Settling in

19 May 2012

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The ribbon garden with cornflowers, poppies and gypsophila.

Smooth as a financial manager, Sumida reflects my sunshine hopes back at me in a glassy smile. Tokyo, gateway to Utopia, or the crutch to support my fantasies? Is the promise of independence sweeter than the realisation? Is the realisation realistic, or merely my wheelborne take on the impossible dream? Humanity seems to possess a built-in hunger for the impossible dream, and living in an age where the dream becomes increasingly universal, and increasingly focused on bodily perfection, I am...

Comments: 1

Roaming

20 May 2012

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The manual wheelchair covered in crystal sparkle. It has a bright red cushion and sits on a black and white tiled floor.

Today I spent roaming in the sunshine, getting my bearings. I rolled alongside Sumida and headed for Ginza. There are more cyclists weaving along the pavements, more mobil-phonists standing in awkward places and I do believe more wheelchairs in evidence. I have discovered that Japanese department stores regularly host art exhibitions, and just past Ginza I did indeed see evidence of a Japanese artist, possibly inflenced by Klimt and Picasso, exhibiting on the sixth floor; what a great idea. The...

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Creative Asia

22 May 2012

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Close-up view of one of the Tian Tian figures, this one decorated in black and white images and text. There is a small aeroplane drawn one its face and crystal bling on one trouser-leg

Ok. I've been here 6 days, this is blog number 5, they all sat frustrated, unposted, on my iPad while I attempted to master the technology using unfamiliar tools. How do I monitor the size of my images? Resize? Crop? How do I convert .png to .jpg? I guess I will have figured it when I post this, but the Greenroom blog will be out of sync with my tweet... I may use wheels to augment my body; I may long for a cybersuit, or an avatar, so that I can run and climb and swish a skirt, I enjoy using...

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Two legs ok. Four wheels cyber?

21 May 2012

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Viewed from behind, Henry Moore's bronze of a seated woman looks into Brick Square, where shoppers find a small haven of green peace.

I subscribe to the theory that Utopia always appears to be getting closer. And with the perfect place, the perfect society, comes the perfect life-form - the cyborg. And wheelborne people could be closer than most. The chairborne aquanaut leads the field, being more than just a metaphor for her chosen life-form, closer to whales, dolphins and sharks than any mere human in dive-gear. I came to Tokyo hoping to pursue my hunt for Disability Arts, but instead find myself on an apparent detour. I...

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Tokyo inspirations.

23 May 2012

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An old and battered river-barge moored to the Sumida walkway

Today I'm trying out a Japanese wheelchair to take home; not exactly the one I'd planned for or expected, but good. I hope. I sense my eutopia moving closer. Actually Utopia moves like Michael Jackson; the moonwalk ever deceptive. Having the iPad is great, the Brushes app frees me to explore previous frustrated trains of thought and practice, and being here in Tokyo inspires me to make more creative links between image and word, links I had previously been struggling to realise. My search for...

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Onsen, Na'vi and black eggs.

28 May 2012

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view from the Hakone mountain cable car looking down on earth workings in the midst of tree covered slopes and peaks.

The journey to Hakone involves platform-lifts, chair-lifts, elevators,  trains, metro, cable train and cable car (ropeway) as well as some energetic pushing and pulling up and down very steep hills. Mount Hakone is famous for it's hot springs, peaceful lake and eggs boiled in simmering hot pools. These eggs, their shells turned black by sulphur, are said to prolong life. The 'boiling valley' is 1044 metres above sea level, and contains a lake created by volcanic activity; this...

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Present Opportunity - accessible pavement?

17 June 2012

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red background with a drawn line swirling in a blue squiggle

I had a meeting to attend, in my home town, just 8 minutes away in the car, however it became necessary to travel in my wheelchair so I allowed a good hour. It wasn't enough. Deeply shaken and in a lot of pain I was forced to abandon my journey after an hour. I was two thirds of the way there. Wheelborne, do I have the right to expect that a pavement should be accessible and traversable? Do I have the right to expect that a dropped curb should facilitate my safe delivery to a second...

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Tweet failure; 'Headlining' disconnection.

21 June 2012

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photograph of a white glass vase with grey stripes, it has a pleasingly plump balloon shape . a flare at the neck and sits against a bright pink background.

Gini blogs about the Headlining Disability Shape event at Southbank Centre. Has anyone else compared twitter to a glass of wine? Wheelborne, a glass in hand stops me in my tracks; wheeling requires both hands. So does tweeting. Even when I'm in the powerchair one hand is occupied with the controls and moving around  requires constant re-evaluation of the geography. So I have to stop still to drink or tweet. Wheelless seem to stop anywhere, not even bothering to tuck themselves into...

Comments: 2

Relay

25 June 2012

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An image of the earth from space, set against a black background with partly visible words, the earth orb has its top third removed to create the image od a bowl, and contained within the bowl is Sue in her wheelchair, underwater with hair flowing freely.

Exhibition, 21 June - 14 July 2012, Salisbury Arts Centre.     Relay: handing the baton of inspiration through time and across disciplines, has produced this exhibition at Salisbury Arts Centre. I should, at the outset, declare my involvement, both as an artist and wordsmith and also as member of LUAN (LinkUpArtists Network) whose work, together with images from LUAN member Sue Austin's 'Creating the Spectacle!' represents LinkUpArts' presence as one of Salisbury Arts Centre's...

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Earthbowl 2; hinting at things to come?

26 June 2012

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An image of the earth from space, set against a black background with partly visible words, the earth orb has its top third removed to create the image od a bowl, and contained within the bowl is Sue in her wheelchair, underwater with hair flowing freely.

The eagle eyed DAO reader just might have noticed that the image used (yesterday) in Earthbowl 1 was not actually from 'Creating the Spectacle!' 'Portal' (2008), that iconic picture of Sue Austin under water in a wheelchair, was however our first hint of things to come - watch this space! The Earthbowl series continues with an image from the early development stages of the project when the chair was still being refined and Sue was still learning how to control it. Earthbowl 2 contains an image...

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Earthbowl 3, Fleet Lagoon

27 June 2012

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An image of the earth from space, set against a black background with partly visible words, the earth orb has its top third removed to create the image od a bowl, and contained within the bowl is a third image of Sue in her wheelchair, underwater with hai

I could hardly sleep a wink last night. I might have been a little busy this week, but today has had big, bold, red pencil marks all over it for a while now. Depending on the weather, the tides, fate...Today is the day! Today, in filming for 'Creating the Spectacle!' the underwater wheelchair takes what anyone could only describe as the absolute scariest part of it's journey. I'm heading for Portland to be witness and part of the audience for this stage of the project. I shall be...

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Earthbowl 4 - Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

28 June 2012

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An image of the earth from space, set against a black background with partly visible words, the earth orb has its top third removed to create the image od a bowl, and contained within the bowl is the fourth, close up image of Sue in her wheelchair, underw

This is the last in the series. The timing is deliberate - this is my contingency bowl. In case time and tide conspired against 'Creating the Spectacle!' In case the event was cancelled; in case the worst case scenario swallowed up the adventure and the underwater wheelchair disappeared into oblivion. But actually it also makes a rather splendid trophy to present, with a fanfare, to all the successful participants of the most carefully prepared and choreographed adventure - the journey across...

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The Chairborne Identity

4 July 2012

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close-up photo of the inside of an open heart-shaped box. The box is bright pink, the background black and white

I should give you my car-keys, you could park my car anyday. That's amazing, I couldn't do that with a wheelchair. You really can get around in that tiny space, well done.   And I boil. Spontaneous anger drives me to growl: Carkeys? Hand over your spine, I've got wheels of my own. You are so clever walking; I couldn't, not with those legs! And: Congratulations, you really do work those legs well, amazing you don't even fall over...   There is no real logic to this rudeness. I wasn't...

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Having choices = being human

5 July 2012

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With the open heart-shaped box as background, there is infront of it an NHS wheelchair and a yellow ferrari

My new skinny-wheeled powerchair doesn't seem to be fussed about getting its controls wet; I'm starting to believe that they might actually be weatherproof. Chunky-chair would splutter and stop if I neglected to wrap the joystick and control panel in plastic protection. Chunky's wheels however would take rain in their stride, and were never phased by leaves on the road. Not so with the skinny-wheels. That slightly oily surface that glosses city streets on rainy days is a factor to be reckoned...

Comments: 1

Society: the accident that traumatises.

6 July 2012

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The open heart-shaped box of the previous two blogs is repeated here with the words 'wheelborne was here' floating in the foreground

On the road to equality, I often feel strangely disempowered by the process of Disability Equality Training. Why is it only the temporarily non-disabled who get offered a training opportunity? And why only on occasions? I rather fancy the idea of some training myself. Not exactly the same kind of course, but there must be skills I could practice in order to combat the negative effects society has on my moral and there must be advanced skills I could use to influence or change the mindset of...

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London 2012 warts and all: 1

21 July 2012

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a rather monochrome photograph of some London street pigeons

Visiting London with Chinese friends seemed like the perfect opportunity to see the place as a visitor with almost no English; apparently it's supposed to be especially well geared-up for visitors right now. Approaching the Capital by train, I was a little shocked to discover that my ticket was the most expensive of our party since I did not seem eligible for any of the offers available to the ambulant travellers. Buying a ticket for a wheelborne traveller, did not alert station staff to the...

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London 2012: 3

23 July 2012

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The very flat, mummified body of a splayed rat, pale against dark grey paving

Cultural Exhaustion eventually overpowered our group and a relaxing trip down Regent Street was prescribed to restore our energy. Out in the commercial world Chinese texts popped up here and there, 'made in China' clothes and objects brought soothing familiarity and the stress of strangeness receded somewhat. Unable to help with the search for typically English food, I accompanied my friends into PizzaHut, where we battled our way through the complexities of ordering food we might recognise and...

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