The door is open, reversing I seek to bump my way up the small step. It is painful and I get stuck on my first attempt, but this is the only way in and I persevere. I check out the two rooms I can get to, but there is no-one.
There is no reply. I am actually three minutes late, having had to find a wheelchair accessible route around a flooded subway. I told everyone I would be here for this second consultation, but there is no one waiting. I roll as far as I can towards the sound of voices and call out again. Nothing. There are steps at each end of the entrance hall.
I wait, I call. Eventually I decide to leave.
A staff member strolls in and says that the meeting is not in the accessible room we used last time, but up a flight of stairs. It is suggested that I should be able to get there and a second person joins in the process of persuasion. These two women volunteer three absent men to lift my powerchair. They volunteer one to make a ramp for a steep flight of six steps in a small space. Several other badly informed access suggestions are offered. They are unsafe, undignified and unworkable and I refuse.
The ladies make it plain they find me uncooperative.
I am persuaded around to the outside right of the building to discover small steps and flights of steps not navigable in a powerchair. I am then led around the outside to the left, to further flights of steps I cannot navigate. At the top of the steps a man joins the ladies for a conversation while I am left waiting. At one point I hear him say no, the lawn is waterlogged; I can see that for myself.
It is cold. One of the women comes to suggest that I try the right again. At my less than enthusiastic response she walks away. I have had enough of the farce. Disappointed and offended, I roll home.
Later I get a phone call. The word apology is mentioned followed by the accusation that I was late; the speaker sugests that the inaccessible room is justified by my being late (three minutes), and the allegation that no one was certain I would be there. It is backed up by the assertion that since a lot of people in wheelchairs do get out to climb stairs it was not unreasonable to assume that I would too.
Considering the fuss I have been making about having an accessible meeting room, I wonder on what grounds the speaker feels justified in holding this preposterous opinion.
Since no-one told him I was there, the man making the phone call (same man who called the meeting), does not actually accept any fault, repeating that the meeting started on time and I was late.
I heard the apology word but I cannot accept it, I reject the guilt he tries to lay on me. This feels so much like the behaviour of an abuser blaming a victim and I refuse to be the victim.
Who or what kind of
leaves such a bad stain?
How sincere is an offered
delivered as a command?
How valuable is the word
backed up with accusation?
How much are empty
Saturday 10th November, Peter Catmull Theatre, Hythe: instepdance.co.uk
Thursday 29th November, Pavilion Dance, Bournemouth: paviliondance.org.uk
The Incredible Presence of a Remarkable Absence is the wonderfully apt title of Lila Dance's new 50 minute re-imagining of the world created by Samuel Becket in Waiting For Godot.
Entering the black cube of Salisbury Arts Centre's Main Space after the interval, the semblance of low mist at early dawn swirled from the dust covered floor. Four characters entered in hats of the pork pie/trilby/tweedy type and carrying small hessian sacks that spoke to me more of migrant hopefuls than Becket's shabby-chic end-of-the-roaders.
But the patterns on the floor as these eloquent bodies moved through the space, drew me in. The dancers connected with individual audience members, growing an intimate sense of involvement as they each revealed their peculiar personalities. Solemn or sad faces and sudden mood shifts created the uncertain atmosphere, but the Hat Dance made me smile and soon I too was involved in the waiting.
Swung between fragmented text and incredibly fluid, connected bodies I was drawn ever further into the stillness that is my own personal mode of waiting. The burden of these four uneasy characters killing time before my eyes, became my burden. I felt somehow in danger of loosing myself under the weight of it.
Disability, interdependence, manipulation, tenderness - issues that fought for attention while I watched, waited and absorbed movements that bypassed any kind of reason or rational thought, linking directly to my instinct and emotions.
By the end it seemed I had journeyed somewhere precarious and was not sure I would find my way back, my headspace now haunted with supplementary images of Munch's Scream and Kierkegaard's slightly odd love-letters.
Heavier than the pre-show handouts indicated, it really needed single billing. I needed to create space around it and in so doing, risked loosing sight of the humorous and sensual 'Not About Love' duet that had entertained me before the 20minute interval.
I am changed
or am I? Is it
my love that
or your love
that sees me
I am changed
or am I? No, or
Yes. And yes
I am changed
of how or why;
The exhibition 2012 Open: Designs for a future is on from 31st October - 16th December at Salisbury Arts Centre - Free
On Tuesday, curious to see the selectors choice of Sustainable Design, I attended the busy Preview of Salisbury Arts Centre's Open 2012 exhibition.
First impressions were pleasing on the eye, I fell in love with a recycled book floor; an elegant glass, metal and wood table, and the little group of pots bathed in changing projected images.
The expected repurposing of salvaged resources was accompanied by the considered use of quality design, materials and technology. I had some practical questions about functionality, but there was nothing to get me really thinking, until I discovered the psychometers...
Like many of the pieces on show they are finely crafted, but more than most, they are beautiful. And they are thought provoking. First, how did they get there, why were they selected and what do they have to say about sustainability?
Psychometers are a nonsense, like phrenology and other dead-end pseudo-medical diagnostic tools or practices.
These pieces, created by James Morton Evans, using working barometer mechanisms, are deliberately provocative; an invitation to consider perceptions of mental health issues, the position of psychiatry in the sciences, our drive to utilise new technologies in healthcare and also to look at how we might see sustainable well-being in the future.
As it says on his website, James is a 'UK-based designer who draws upon the language of organic morphology to make exquisite, timeless furniture which is as much sculptural as it is functional'; the psychometers are not typical examples of his work, but by presenting them here at this exhibition James prompts some much needed thinking on wider concepts of sustainability.