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Naming the new soft sculpture.

Kosta.

The 'new man' will be Kosta; not from coffee Costa, but from costa, the botanical noun for rib. Kosta, deriving from Kouros like Eve from Adam's rib, is in essence a clone.

Physically, he should still be recognisable as having the same basic body shape and measurements as Kouros; maybe it is possible that he could still be classed as one of the Kouroi, but he will lack the classic pose.

Kouros, referencing Venus the classic beauty, has no arms. Kosta also has no legs.

 

Like Kouros, Koure has no arms. Nothing at her shoulders, just the frayed edges of her torso; arms are not definitive of Kouroi in the same way that legs are. Kouros and Koure stand in the classic pose. Without one leg to place slightly in front of the other, will Kosta need a new label?

Where will this difference, this diversity, take Kosta? The imagination that might replace limbs will not have free reign, my imagination will already have made visible the roots Kosta has grown to survive.

Where might this take you? What kinds of links will influence how the 'new man' is described?

He is only soft sculpture, but how might Kosta be classified?

 

So many people I talk to seem to feel that the Paralympic classification system, Lexi, has given them permission to be more open with their curiosity and speculation. Some of the discussion has been very blunt.

A part of my 2012 legacy that I cannot ignore...

 

 

Where does humanity end?

How many variations

do we need before we

decide to draw the line?

To offer less, expect less;

to look away instead.

How much life can be

cut away

before we embody

the notion

of disability

with a less than human

right to equality?

 

 

 

Posted by Gini, 13 September 2012

Last modified by Gini, 12 February 2013

Post Oparalympiad

Digital friends, electronic social life, podcast entertainment, filmed performance: all good, but no substitute for the real live thing.

Not living in London, access (including financial access) to the phenomenon known simply as 2012, was problematic. Knowing no local people with any real interest in experiencing the Cultural Olympiad, I actually felt far more isolated than involved.

 

I was at the mercy of the media, and misleading statements like The Best Disability Arts practitioners are at the Southbank. Arguably some of the best were; some of the best were not, I found it important to remind myself as I struggled to negotiate the London Trap.

 

I had friends who were doing the Oparalympics, and it was interesting to observe how they reacted to all the media hype about the New Attitude to disability and disabled people.

I'm planning to make a record during the coming months, of the progress of my personal legacy from the Oparalympiad, and since I won't be taking up any new sports, we are talking cultural legacy here and my expectations have been raised.

 

To ensure fair measurement I am working on a lympiometer.

Areas to be measured include inspiration, motivation, productivity, heritage happiness and sense of integration.

Keen to get some numbers into the lympiometer as soon as possible, I actually started before the Oparalympiad was over:

 

Inspiration? Emotional Oparalympiad exhaustion was draining any personal hopes of inspiration, so not much to record here. I'm working hard at maintaining the sparks already lit, and currently relying heavily on the Blue Peter strategy.

 

Motivation? Mmmh. Another zero score. The overwhelming (tantalising and mostly out of reach), offer of so unbelievably much packed into such a short period of time, seemed to function more as a deterrent. I'm having to exert a lot of pressure on myself to battle doubts and keep going.

 

Productivity? Ooops a minus score here. I am still working, but slowing. Things are bound to improve if I can just hang on in there.

 

Heritage happiness? Too soon to tell. I'm feeling very mixed up right now. I feel a bit like my artist has creative indigestion; nothing serious, just an uncomfortable lack of happiness and reasons to persevere.

 

Integration? A section of the population is more aware and more openly curious.

The blanket shade of pity has nuances; the Lexi-effect has people speculating on my capabilities, none of this feels very inclusive - yet.

 

Disability? How do I feel about being disabled? Confused, inadequate, defensive - all those supercrips are kind of overwhelming.

 

Do I have expectation of improvement? Yes definitely! My 2012 Day needs time to sink in, and that New Attitude is surely going to have a positive effect on paralife

Posted by Gini, 10 September 2012

Last modified by Gini, 10 September 2012

My 2012 day (does include a performance of Menage a Trois by Claire Cunningham)

Shambolic as it turned out to be, my London 2012 day was an accidental success, so sitting in the dark with a dubious view of the Queen Elizabeth Hall stage, the edge of my apprehension was blunted by an ok exhaustion.

My first impressions of a group of murderous sticks served to reinforce the stereotypes generated by my crutches Fred and George; I sent frequent glances towards the putative security of the exits.

Nameless as Claire Cunningham's crutches were, they still managed to sign Fred and George menacingly in my direction until the magical moment when Claire deftly dismembered Fred. Secret joy bubbled in my throat, as I went on to see her pulling sticks to pieces, with calculated intensity.

The primitive and Oz-innocent scarecrow she put together with sticky tape could have been delicious revenge, but Claire's poignant, haunting words and powerful dance indicated a totally different relationship.

The joyful bubble burst into metaphorical tears as my heart ached with her exploration of loneliness and isolation.

The happily-ever-after option hinted at by injections of humour, was, like me, left behind by whimsical mood shifts that took me full circle back to my own relationship with those uncomfortable, impersonal objects I name Fred and George.

Nit-picking, I'm going to say that some clever and very beautiful stage design at times outstayed it's welcome; one lengthy, intense background sound bullied it's way forward to painfully dominate my headspace and a too-long age of writhing about on the floor in the semi-dark left me thinking of my missed train.

Apart from these small issues of timing, this was as polished and professional a performance as anyone could have have wished for.

And a magical glimpse into life's lonely-moments that we can all, one way or another, identify with.

 

I arrive with baggage.

The venue does nothing

to release me into

it's offer of magic.

Servants of archaic

bricks and mortar send me

hither and thither. With

smiles and apologies,

I'm set free in a dark,

steep cavern to await

the Menage a Trois.

So many wheelborne,

give this old edifice

an unexpected weight.

Posted by Gini, 9 September 2012

Last modified by Gini, 9 September 2012

Confronting demons.

Meet Fred. Meet George.

 

I hate them both. Totally interchangeable hatred; one left, one right, mirror twins. Totally interchangeable names.

I knew a man who hated sheep, he said that sheep have only one raison d'etre which is to die in the most inconvenient place possible. Fred and George must have been sheep in a previous life.

 

Now they are just sticks. Metal sticks with plastic cuffs and hand-shaped branches, whose sole purpose is to crash to the floor as frequently and inconveniently as possible.

They have clones littering up the place, but still just two interchangeable names.

And I hate all of them. I resent their clacking clumpiness and their ability to transform me into a four legged animal.

They are frequently laying traps to break my limbs and destroy my credibility. They wreck havoc with my appearance ruining my lines, destroying my clothes in the process and my arms with it, their cuffs leaving bruised manacle-echoes just above my elbows and holes in my knitwear.

 

Fred and George masquerade as cheeky monkeys who are here to give me their full support, but make no mistake, they are bullies; abusive 'partners' never satisfied with less than dominating our relationship.

I resent the way they use me, they are only sticks. They consume my energy, like thieves. Manipulative and demanding, everything we do is on their terms.

 

Meet Fred, Meet George. I hate them both.

I've a ticket to Claire Cunningham's performance in Saturday's Unlimited at Southbank, I feel sick with apprehension.

 

Babies and animals

move about on all fours.

The symbolic value of my crutches

is not lost on me.

Metal legs expose me

as the wounded animal

even when I meet you

at eye level. Face to face.

Posted by Gini, 7 September 2012

Last modified by Gini, 7 September 2012