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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

Snake poison and affordable tans

8 June 2012

Blog

photo of a bustling street in Yokoama's chinatown

Yokohama gets a rough deal from me. She's always squeezed between other places, other attractions, yet  evening Yokohama Chinatown lures me with some excellent dim sum in a quiet first floor restaurant, with windows looking right at the elaboratly carved and decorated Chinese temple opposite. Kamakura is the day's first destination, the site of the giant Buddah I visited last year, it also has a small, but excellent art gallery showing works from the Kamakura collection of...

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Gothic Lolita and Princess Trees

7 June 2012

Blog

a photograph taken at night of a tower which can be seen only because of its lights

Googling for occasion clothes, I discover that the kind of frilly baby-doll outfits mentioned in 'Symbolic clothes and Kimono' are in a style labelled Gothic Lolita. Mmm; says it all, I guess. Sun sets early in Tokyo, and the warm night air lights up with city living. The Gothic Lolitas who have prowled in packs by daylight, melt away; daydreams insubstantial. Groups of Suits gather, fill the streets with contained anticipation. Negotiating space to pass 'Gentlemen's Clubs'...

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Dancing dresses and do I take sugar...

7 June 2012

Blog

a photograph taken from high up looking down on to a modern shiny plaza

'Does she take sugar' seems to be a question foreign to most Japanese; I am always spoken to directly. When I travel, all help, questions or instructions are directed at me - even if I have a Japanese companion who knows the way. And if my companion  presumes to comandeer the guiding process, I am usually asked if I am ok with that. Of course they do tend to presume that I need help, but then most times they are right. I always feel the intentions are good, the attitude is right....

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Proof of Existence

6 June 2012

Blog

Bronze sculpture of a naked woman lying on her side amide greenery.

I traveled part of the way to Hakone under a poster with an image in grey, of cracks in a pavement - Proof of Existence. The Hakone area seems stuffed with museums and galleries that will tempt me back; this poster was for Shinji Omaki's Proof of Existence.   Passing the Hakone Open-Air Museum I saw evidence of artworks that will need to be explored. Plentiful signs and posters pointed to other inviting destinations; Hakone brought itself to my attention and certainly has something to...

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Mutilated tans and a duck cenotaph.

5 June 2012

Blog

A view across the pond to the island Tea House with Sky-scapers in the background

I seek Japanese fabric. Something on a roll, where I could ask for a metre or two. I love the colour aesthetic here, and the use of texture. I feel the need to take some of it home with me. This fabric lives in the past. It comes in one narrow width, one long length - it comes in a Kimono quantity - a 'tan' - ca 35 cms wide and twelve metres long. Linen or silk, sometimes cotton, each with it's own tradition of weave and colour. And each weave or colour has it's own traditional application: the...

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Soldier marigolds, pots and recycling.

4 June 2012

Blog

Tokyo Tower seen from the Walkway that extends over the top of Midtown Garden, on the right is a skyscraper.

I have made contact with a potter, Yoko Terai, who has an exhibition of beautiful pots and a friend who speaks some English. The pots, elegant forms in calm shades of white, have a gentle, sensuous beauty, but also the imposing authority of Mount Fuji; I had difficulty restraining myself from picking them up. I can imagine living with them. I could also live with a regular delivery of flowers - the most beautiful arrangements of cut flowers; exquisite mini-bonsai in round balls of moss or tiny...

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Trying on Umbrellas.

2 June 2012

Blog

small bronze figure of eros peeking around a sreet corner

I often duck into department stores to use the facilities, or change the batteries on my chair; today threatens rain and there is a small queue of people trying on umbrellas. An assistant stands by to hand over the next choice, opened and ready to use, so that the prospective purchaser can look in a full length mirror and check out the colour, style and size. Plain, ruffles, frills or lace? Large, medium or small? Tan, black, or... the colour options are plentiful. Finding an umbrella that...

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Chopstick impressions, access and flying solo.

1 June 2012

Blog

Semi abstract picture of a woman drawn with Chinese ink and pigments, in a slim wooden frame, seen with reflected city-scape in shop-window..

I've had a disagreement with a woman in an art gallery. We were discussing; I was talking about the visitors to galleries, she was talking about the exhibitors in general and the artist exhibiting there in particular. I said that Japanese took art very seriously. She declared that he had a free and easy style and Japanese art was very varied. We politely agreed to disagree when suddenly she realised what I was trying to say, looked discreetly around, and then totally agreed with me. We...

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Symbolic clothes, Kimono and Peter Pan

31 May 2012

Blog

poster showing a yellow Japanese Kimono with red trim and red and blue print of sea and birds, clouds and flowers. four squares of japanese fabric border the top of the poster and exhibition details in Japanese characters, sit in a red border along the bo

Discovering the imposing bronze statue behind Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa reminded me that I really do wish to attend a Kabuki performance. The traditional Japanese building of our local Kabuki theatre is controversially being replaced by a modern brick box and not due to reopen until next year. I'm hoping it will be amazingly accessible. I checked out the alternative theatres and discovered that I had missed the May season. I had hoped to go to a morning performance as the event usually lasts...

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Crowds, cat cafes and Teleporting.

30 May 2012

Blog

A view of the entrance to the excitingly named Tokyo Teleport Station.

Tokyu Hands (pronounced Tokyo Hanz) was reviewed by the New York Times as 'the' department store for the serious home owner and hobbyist, it has also been described as a 'makers paradise'. Floors of fascinating items, many only available in Japan, tempt me.  Countless arts possibilities reawaken as shelves full of curious and useful items demand attention. I want to take one of the stores home with me. We visited the flagship store at Shibuya, but at Ikebukuro they also have a cat cafe,...

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Spatial justice and privilege

29 May 2012

Blog

granite boulders of varying heights, with smooth tops for sitting on, surround the base of a tree.

My life in Tokyo is not exactly domestic, there are few meals to cook or chores to attend to. The robot cleaner takes care of bare essentials and meals are mostly eaten out. Passing a restaurant, we check for access and availability and by the time I roll in, several seats have been removed to give me a choice of seating. I am greeted with dignity, with no sense of being too much bother, or of being patronised. This area that I call home is quiet and comfortable, with very little evidence of...

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Onsen, Na'vi and black eggs.

28 May 2012

Blog

view from the Hakone mountain cable car looking down on earth workings in the midst of tree covered slopes and peaks.

The journey to Hakone involves platform-lifts, chair-lifts, elevators,  trains, metro, cable train and cable car (ropeway) as well as some energetic pushing and pulling up and down very steep hills. Mount Hakone is famous for it's hot springs, peaceful lake and eggs boiled in simmering hot pools. These eggs, their shells turned black by sulphur, are said to prolong life. The 'boiling valley' is 1044 metres above sea level, and contains a lake created by volcanic activity; this...

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Shibaraku.

27 May 2012

Blog

Bronze statue on a stone plinth, depicting a Kabuki actor in heavy and elaborate costume, crouching with weapon in hand

I have made a journey back to Asakusa, it involves changing trains and previously the station staff have been very helpful, but this time the helpfulness petered out when I arrived at the first station. The man-with-the-ramp was not there and I was on the point of blocking the sliding  door, to prevent the train leaving, when he came running onto the platform barking 'wait'. At Asakusa station, following signs for the Temple exit, I came to a full stop at a flight of stairs and proceeded...

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Tema Hema - Effort Time.

26 May 2012

Blog

colourful image of a woman clutching a book title Art School 2012. She stands feet together on a pathway in a patchwork costume of warm colours.

Today I revisited Design Sight 21_21, the design exhibition space of the Issey Miyake Foundation, created by Issey Miyake and Tadeo Ando. Tema Hima - the Art of Living in Tohoku, was exactly that. Film and exhibited objects described the traditional ways of sourcing food and tools that are being practiced in Tohoku, site of The Great East Japan Earthquake. Visually fascinating, informative and an advocate for the inspirational quality of this way of living holding a key to future survival,...

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Semicyber

25 May 2012

Blog

Low branches of an old pine tree held in place with sturdy T-shaped wooden support poles

Lying in bed without my wheels, it occurs to me that I am semicyber, but being without them does not free me from their impact. And these times, out of the public gaze, have no impact on the way society views me. Cyborg or cyberbodied, in the public consciousness a chairborne entity is 'bound' to it's wheels. Here in Japan where I have almost no Japanese, I am freed from any negative feedback regarding my wheelborne presence, by my own lack of understanding. In that way I am freer to create and...

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Greenroom Festival. 2012

24 May 2012

Blog

Bronze sculpture of two figures sitting on a park bench. the fgures are long and thin with the upper body of one being partially hidden by a cloak

Yokohama's Greenroom Festival of music, art and film (www.greenroom.jp/ ) was this year held in the historical Red Brick Warehouse, close to the futuristic Odaibashi ferry terminal: "Never has architecture been so clearly at the forefront of the festival experience as it is at Yokohama's Greenroom Festival, the annual jazz, ska, lounge and surf-rock celebration that takes place at the Odaibashi International Ferry Terminal at Yokohama port"...

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Tokyo inspirations.

23 May 2012

Blog

An old and battered river-barge moored to the Sumida walkway

Today I'm trying out a Japanese wheelchair to take home; not exactly the one I'd planned for or expected, but good. I hope. I sense my eutopia moving closer. Actually Utopia moves like Michael Jackson; the moonwalk ever deceptive. Having the iPad is great, the Brushes app frees me to explore previous frustrated trains of thought and practice, and being here in Tokyo inspires me to make more creative links between image and word, links I had previously been struggling to realise. My search for...

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Creative Asia

22 May 2012

Blog

Close-up view of one of the Tian Tian figures, this one decorated in black and white images and text. There is a small aeroplane drawn one its face and crystal bling on one trouser-leg

Ok. I've been here 6 days, this is blog number 5, they all sat frustrated, unposted, on my iPad while I attempted to master the technology using unfamiliar tools. How do I monitor the size of my images? Resize? Crop? How do I convert .png to .jpg? I guess I will have figured it when I post this, but the Greenroom blog will be out of sync with my tweet... I may use wheels to augment my body; I may long for a cybersuit, or an avatar, so that I can run and climb and swish a skirt, I enjoy using...

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Two legs ok. Four wheels cyber?

21 May 2012

Blog

Viewed from behind, Henry Moore's bronze of a seated woman looks into Brick Square, where shoppers find a small haven of green peace.

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...

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Roaming

20 May 2012

Blog

The manual wheelchair covered in crystal sparkle. It has a bright red cushion and sits on a black and white tiled floor.

Today I spent roaming in the sunshine, getting my bearings. I rolled alongside Sumida and headed for Ginza. There are more cyclists weaving along the pavements, more mobil-phonists standing in awkward places and I do believe more wheelchairs in evidence. I have discovered that Japanese department stores regularly host art exhibitions, and just past Ginza I did indeed see evidence of a Japanese artist, possibly inflenced by Klimt and Picasso, exhibiting on the sixth floor; what a great idea. The...

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Settling in

19 May 2012

Blog

The ribbon garden with cornflowers, poppies and gypsophila.

Smooth as a financial manager, Sumida reflects my sunshine hopes back at me in a glassy smile. Tokyo, gateway to Utopia, or the crutch to support my fantasies? Is the promise of independence sweeter than the realisation? Is the realisation realistic, or merely my wheelborne take on the impossible dream? Humanity seems to possess a built-in hunger for the impossible dream, and living in an age where the dream becomes increasingly universal, and increasingly focused on bodily perfection, I am...

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Tokyo. One day

17 May 2012

Blog

Long thin roots, in mullti-colour dark shades reaching down into a grey-green space.

I'm back. Tokyo called and here I am. Sumida, rocking and rolling, reflects my excitement. This time the cherry blossom is over and Tokyo is greening -  punctuated by bright splashes of pink azalea; while Sumida, the river, is followed by a ribbon garden borrowed from an English country cottage. Sky Tree stretches high into warm city air, awaiting it's grand opening on the 22nd May; it is visible for miles and miles, looking down on the 53 floors of the Mori Building  and the red...

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My very own one-woman Shape Open Fringe.

4 May 2012

Blog

pale, fine lines curling, floating on a turquoise background

I once heard Anish Kapoor say something along the lines of "my art works because I have nothing to say" which struck me as very odd. Triptychos Boxed is a glance at the aspirations of faith and mythology from a wheelborne perspective. A collection of previously loved small boxes containing references to aspects of faith, they also focus on the 'get up and go' that, chairborne, I both long for and reject as irrelevant. This is my first conscious attempt to make work that 'has nothing...

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Triptychos, Crow, dammit, Crow

30 April 2012

Blog

The box in this blog is open, the colourful peacocks are on view, so the text in a heart shaped frame has been added in the bottom right hand corner.

Crow, dammit, Crow. Box 3 and the final part of Triptychos  is heart-shaped and Schiaparelli pink, except for the outside of the lid. The box, 21 cms across and 4 cms deep, has a teal coloured lid decorated with colourful peacocks adorned with hearts instead of eyes. When you open the box you will find, not a love letter, but a Christmas card. Mary and Joseph hold each other anxiously as the baby in the wheelchair peers up at them. The angel is of course, adoring; the sheep proprietorial...

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Triptychos, Schrodinger's Cat

29 April 2012

Blog

This is the black box with the lid removed so that you can see both the wording at the bottom of the box and the words inside the lid.

Schrodinger's Cat. Box 2 of Triptychos, is black and 15 cms deep. It has six sides, each 7.5 cms. The outside has a texture like fine grosgrain which gives it a silk-like finish. The lid has a 3 cm lip and both box and lid are a smooth black inside. When you remove the lid to peer into the darkness you will see the words read read read read read read read read & read in sky-blue printed around the edges of the floor of the box. There is also a black square in the centre of the floor of the...

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