Some years ago, after a chat about 'This is not Disability Art' I started my own 'This never used to be Disability Art' project.
Just me and Photoshop; with no thought or ambition for the work to ever escape the confines of the files on my computer. Then I got a 'Dear All' email from Colin (the Dao Editor), and a future for my time travelling wheelchair suddenly loomed into focus.
Opulent Mobility, and the magnificent A. Laura Brody, were not just calling for submissions to an exhibition reimagining the possibilities for mobility aids and accoutrements, they were based in California USA; a place that (so Google tells me) has its Rules & Regs on satire, irony and copyright well sorted.
'Me and' (somebody famous) might be looking at a break out!
I submitted two pieces, both having a lot more to question about people's preconceptions than about actually redesigning the wheelchair. Although, for time traveling, they do have little gold wings…
To my delight, they were both accepted.
The organisers (Laura in particular) are being really helpful in facilitating the transition from pixel to print in the U.S. - keeping my participation costs to a minimum.
The exhibition runs from 9-19 September 2015, but as I have already organised being in Tokyo during that time (working on other exhibitions); I won't be able to be there.
Very different to anything else I have ever exhibited, I'm finding it hard to imagine my two 'Me ands' let loose on their own. In one sense they are very personal, poking gentle fun at the ‘+wheels = -brains’ guilt-frame I am frequently placed in and at the irritating presumption that, as an artist, a female artist, I dabble, in a genteel manner, with paint.
I find them funny, but then my humour is probably the least British thing about me.
In another sense they are more like my poetry; I get that feeling I'm merely there as the receiver and recorder of something 'in the ether'; that the chair, like a ventrilloquist's puppet, has been planning a life of its own.
How exciting it is to stumble upon someone who speaks like a kindred spirit...hello Twitter and the Internet.
And how galling to discover that this exciting spirit articulates what they do so very much better than I do...
I'm not ignoring the acts of government evil #disabilityconfident is just one more nail...(LinkUpArts 'Worth Fighting For' poetry tonight at www.salisburyarts.co.uk).
I'm doing research for my new website. I don't seem to be able to articulate my design desires to accessible, affordable website designers, nor find a Wordpress theme that fits me like a glove. But together with a programmer who wants to learn website design, I'm working out how to progress.
I want a site that looks calm like swan. And then has access to the feet paddling madly below water level. I want my site to have accessible spaces; room for other imaginations. I want my swan to take wing, even if it does mean we have a messy landing.
And that's where Kelli Anderson came into the picture. Kelli (of Viral Paper record player fame) is looking at design and 'the invisible authority things have over our brains'. This is a kindred spirit moment. I've been trying to articulate it for years.
My interest has been specifically targeted at architecture; in created, constructed geography and yes, the invisible authority it has over the brain. The influence it wields over emotion and action, the subtle and not so subtle way it manipulates how we see ourselves in its space.
But here's the real Eurika bit. She's working on the idea of a website that shows the workings, the exciting messy bits behind the scenes ... yes, me too.