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Two legs ok. Four wheels cyber? / 21 May 2012

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 want to return to Odaiba, the artificial island at the end of Rainbow Bridge, to revisit the Universal Design Centre at Toyota's Exhibition Hall. Here they demonstrate developments to a Universal 'wheelchair'.

This 'chair' transports it's user in upright or horizontal positions and travels at speeds that exceed those aspired to by most powerchair manufacturers. It is being designed to be  universally desirable. Is this what mobility disabled people want? Is it a viable alternative to a powersuit? Is it anything more than a detour on evolution road? Is it sexy enough to compete?

Technology could be my best way forward: a way to make some connections; a way to look below the surface of life here; to discover heterotopic spaces. There may still be treasure at the end of the rainbow, or this could be going nowhere.

Sumida flows
contra flows
radiating
shell patterns
with no
apparent
sense of direction.
Sumida sees
me. Carries
my reflection
hither and thither.
I see Sumida.
Together
we dither.
Sumida rolls
I follow.
Today we find
a tree-lined
avenue of
artwork.

Keywords: equality,gallery,heterotopic spaces,poetry,relating to wheelchairs,symbolism,tokyo,utopia