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Gini - disability arts online
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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

Thinking for Myself

24 August 2012

Blog

rear view of a grey skeleton on a white background. The skeleton is wearing black stockings and blue sling-back stilettos

'When you are married your husband will tell you what you will think' Downton Abbey passed me by, but these words from a trailer did make a deep impression. And reminded me of my introduction to Disability Arts. As an artist waking up to a strange world, I had been silent for a number of years, and being invited to be part of the formation of LinkUpArts was a lifeline. I began reworking a series of architectural drawings through which wandered a skeleton wearing black stockings and stilettos...

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Evolving Jessie - the body project

21 August 2012

Blog

On a black background, a profile of Jessie's white fabrik head with a long root growing from her spine over her head and onto her cheek.

Jessie is looking good. Removing her hair was quite traumatic and I pondered the bald skull a while before deciding that it needed a little remodelling.   On the floor, a half-stuffed torso has joined the various body parts, I need more wadding before I can go further with the sculpture; it is hungry on wadding and I ferry the stuff home frequently. Tied to the back of my powerchair it gives a bulky profile that no-one would guess is a new body in the making.   Rooted people grow on...

Comments: 1

The Creative Case for... NDACA

20 August 2012

Blog

Close-up photo of a whole walnut, probably the first whole nut I've ever cracked, with layer adjustments, that give it a warm translucent glow and some moody blue-greens

When it comes to fancy dress I think I make a pretty good Borg Queen. And if the conversation dries, I can always announce: 'Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated' - which brings me neatly to the question of integration and, whilst I'm stitching sculptures, my current concern: 'Will Integration kill Disability Arts?' Are we only here for the interim between barbarian past and enlightened future? Will the real or imagined possibility of being embraced and valued fragment any hopes...

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Commissioned conversations, another Con.Text

18 August 2012

Blog

Portrait of the soft sculpture figure where Photoshop has enabled rich green, purple-pink, blue and yellow colours and a quirky misalignment of layers

 I am totally looking forward to making an official start on my DAO Diverse Perspectives Commission conversations! After sitting in residence at Salisbury Arts Centre last year and creating my first conversation/ text work they were keen to see me develop the possibilities. Initial talks with the then Director of Salisbury Arts Centre focused on a visual presention and People Like You, the exhibition, began to take shape. I have already started on the preliminary writing, but it is...

Comments: 1

Soft Sculpture - body project

14 August 2012

Blog

four white fabric nipples arranged in a square on faded grey decking, seen between blossoms of a whit agapanthus plant.

The agapanthus in my green and white garden has never looked more stunning. A jungle of green shades and textures surrounds and inspires my outdoors working. Sun warms my bones and enables these quiet moments when pain takes second place. Indoors my floor is strewn with body parts. And Jessie has finally lost her hair. I have been reluctant to remove the long black dreads, but since Kouros, my soft sculpture figures have had no hair; Jessie, who is being worked on from (what were) the toes up,...

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Platinum - MonoLympic best in show

12 August 2012

Blog

The gold star spangled background with a bolted shut black book, now has a silver half-face mask on top of it.

For providing the only logical, long awaited, ultimate-access solution, the platinum metal:   This unique, once-in-lifetime fabulously sensational, interactive brilliance, with a guaranteed 'has to be experienced live' atmosphere from a cast of interdiversity hundreds, has a budget that will bring tears to your soul. Lynda, our designated access professional has been allocated full powers of authority to determine and design total equality of access and presentation. The results have been...

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Gold, the penultimate award, goes to...

8 August 2012

Blog

another black bound book on a gold star spangled background, the one has two different nut and bolt systems locking it together

For continuing assessment and a truly genuine desire to win gold, the gold metal (colour equality equalised):   This spectacular, one-off event will see people lacking a wide diversity of disabilities performing together from a variety of disciplines. They come together from all over the world to celebrate excellence in a commission especially devised to celebrate the temporarily nondisabled in all their rich diversity. Unfortunately it has not been possible to secure access for wheelless...

Comments: 1

Silver...

4 August 2012

Blog

On a golden star spangled background this black-bound untitled book is bolted shut by a single line arrangement od three nuts, bolts and washers

For taking the time to really mull over the access issue and promoting a positive attitude to wheelless and temporarily nondisabled people, the silver metal (colour equality standard):   This commission will honour and celebrate wheelless, temporarily nondisabled, seeing and hearing talents and does include a brave performance from a wheelless father of three from Dorset. It will wheel out for one random night only. A limited number of protective platforms have been put in place for the...

Comments: 0

Bronze - and the winner is...

31 July 2012

Blog

Close-up of a black book on golden, star spangled background. The book is untitled and bolted shut with a nut and bolt through the middle

For realising that there is indeed a need to accommodate some of the disadvantaged people of our country, the bronze metal (colour adjusted for equality): At one with the natural world and taking place in some of the most hauntingly memorable venues, this installation is for everyone who has ever known or longed to know the feeling of belonging and the inspiring sensation of equality. Motivated by some of the great artists and musicians of the past, created by innovative and fabulously talented...

Comments: 2

The body project.

29 July 2012

Blog

Close-up portrait of Kouros's stitched white muslin face, on grainy background

The Hayward Rat (Rattus Flattus) has proved positively inspirational. There is work queuing up to be let out of my head and there are days when this queue and clamour paralyse my choosing process. The Hayward Rat has brought Kouros and the body project right up to the front of the queue. The body project aims to resurrect Jessie from 'Bare Boards and Blue Stilettos'. At the time, she made dramatic impact, but I felt she needed to be a little more explicit. I was asking people to use their...

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MonoLympic

26 July 2012

Blog

Pebbles spelling out the word MonoLympic on  white background

MonoLympic has only one sport, only one category, only one concept: access. The torch has been lit and you have been chosen to tweet the flame.   Countdown will commence one quantum moment from the designated start, which will inevitably be in advance of the allocation of the first metal (lump). And the nominations are... Well, in the spirit of equality and freedom of access, the committee invite you to nominate your all-time, show-stopping, mind-boggling access issue. Under the MonoLympic...

Comments: 4

London 2012: 3

23 July 2012

Blog

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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London 2012: 2

22 July 2012

Blog

Two shiny bluebottle flies and one other larger black unidentified specimen sitting on the paving, in the sun, after feasting on dead mouse.

Via Westminster Bridge and a complex of old buildings with a clock tower, we attempted to reach Trafalgar Square. Olympic Detours and fenced off areas took us through Whitehall and a photo opportunity with some gentle, patient horses standing beside a big label warning that they might kick or bite. Along our route, a long, long queue of London taxis, progressing slowly and very noisily with much horn honking, was the cause of much laughter. The prominent Olympic Countdown caused mild amusement,...

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London 2012 warts and all: 1

21 July 2012

Blog

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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Society: the accident that traumatises.

6 July 2012

Blog

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...

Comments: 1

Having choices = being human

5 July 2012

Blog

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

The Chairborne Identity

4 July 2012

Blog

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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Earthbowl 4 - Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

28 June 2012

Blog

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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Earthbowl 3, Fleet Lagoon

27 June 2012

Blog

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 2; hinting at things to come?

26 June 2012

Blog

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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Relay

25 June 2012

Blog

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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Tweet failure; 'Headlining' disconnection.

21 June 2012

Blog

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

Some other Culture?

18 June 2012

Blog

Black ink sketch of a rather wonkey manual wheelchair on a blue background

I'm back among people I should theoretically have some understanding of and connection to. Back in a culture that should feel familiar, if not comfortable. Back wondering how to rejoice and celebrate difference and diversity while committing to integration and equality of opportunity, comprehension and access. I say I don't want to be seen as different, but what I probably mean is that I don't want my difference to be seen as alien; I still need to be accepted as me; an individual with unique...

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Present Opportunity - accessible pavement?

17 June 2012

Blog

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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Created geography and spatial justice

9 June 2012

Blog

a photograph of an old ship sailing in front of an old Japanese building

If nothing else, being in Tokyo has served to clarify my ideas about spatial equality;  to crystallise my thoughts about some of the negative psychological effects of historical Greek and Roman architectural practice on European urban design, to ponder  the power of hegemonic places and to begin to formulate further ideas about created heterotopic spaces. I am quite lazy about following up on even my most important ideas and although my blog intro states that my work 'engages...

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