People Like You
March – April 2013
People Like you was an exhibition by LinkUpArts in partnership with Salisbury Arts Centre and Disability Arts Online with artists Sue Austin, Liz Crow and Gini and has been supported through Arts Council’s Grants for the Arts.
The exhibition starts at the box office. Immediately opposite the box office you will find Gini’s Scrolls. A set of scrolls which can be taken out of their tubes and examined. These form the main part of Creatives In Con.Text, Gini’s DAO Diverse Perspectives commission. Each scroll is a visual and textual exploration of context conversations in which Gini has interacted with artists and their audiences about creating and responding to the arts. The scrolls are: Creatives in Context, Cont.Text within Flint, and Endelig. There is a bonus fourth scroll labelled Context which contains poems blogged on disability arts online in the lead up to the exhibition.
In the alcove before the exhibition starts, white felt alphabet letters are dotted around the floor. They were made in a collaborative project between Gini and Salisbury Arts Centre Craft Club. The work is called Secret Sentence You are invited to Recreate the original sentence, which you can find in the artwork, or make up your own in your favourite Arts Centre spot and take a photograph. We will include it in the exhibition. Here you will also find the LinkUpArts PLY Project, a photography project which exhibits past and present photographs of people like you. You are invited to submit your own photos. Details are on the information sheet provided and box office staff are available to assist.
November 2012 – August 2013
Bedding Out was a 48 hour durational performance as part of People Like You.
“Originating with a performance as part of SPILL Festival of Performance in November 2012, Bedding Out emerges from the current welfare benefits overhaul, which threatens many with poverty and a propagandist campaign that has seen a doubling in disability hate crime.
The project sees artist-activist Liz Crow taking her private bed-oriented life and placing it in the public arena for all to see over a 48-hour period in order to show that what many see as contradiction, or fraud, is simply the complexity of real life. Bedding Out has gone on to tour as part of the People Like You exhibition at Salisbury Arts Centre in April 2013, coinciding with the introduction of the Personal Independence Payment, which replaced Disability Living Allowance on 8 April 2013.
Members of the public are invited to participate in ‘Bedside Conversations’, gathering around the bed to talk about the work, its backdrop and its politics, while those unable to attend in person are invited to take part virtually, through social media. The Salisbury performance was watched on livestream by more than 9,750 people in over 50 countries and received national coverage in The Guardian newspaper. In August 2013, Bedding Out travelled to Edinburgh where it was performed as part of The Fringe.
Bedding Out also exists in installation form.
Bedding Out was commissioned as part of Disability Arts Online’s Diverse Perspectives project, which commissioned eight disabled artists across the UK to make a new artwork that would spark conversations and debate about the Creative Case for Diversity.” Quoted from http://www.roaring-girl.com/work/bedding-out/
Sue Austin ‘Creating the Spectacle!’
Shot in the Red Sea, ‘Creating the Spectacle!’ is part of a series of a ground-breaking live art, moving image and online works by artist Sue Austin, featuring an underwater wheelchair that leaves traces of its joy and freedom as it flies along through the water with its human occupant.
The work is designed to transform preconceptions by using the unexpected juxtapositions of scuba equipment and an NHS wheelchair to excite, inspire and open up new ways of seeing, being and knowing.
Conceived by Artistic Director Sue Austin and produced through Freewheeling, ‘Creating the Spectacle!’ aims to generate a widespread public debate about the nature and value of contemporary arts practice shaped by the experience of disability. ‘Creating the Spectacle!’ was an Unlimited commission for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
‘Creating the Spectacle!’ Online: Part 1 Finding Freedom
Submerged in a turquoise tropical waterscape we dive straight into the action, a strange contraption – the back of a sub-aquatic wheelchair lifts off, whooshing up from the white sandy seabed leaving trails of tiny silver bubbles.
Its occupant waves her arms out to her sides in dancelike gestures, her long dark brown hair splayed up and out behind her.
Breathing from a black air cylinder attached to the back of the chair she takes a journey through the underwater environment leaving a trail of bubbles.
Creating the Spectacle 360 degree Part 1 Flying Free Sand Cloud and Bubble Curtain by Sue Austin
Three screens show a turquoise blue mist. Teased with abstracts of bubbles and hair and chair the soundtrack urges the viewer to look on, waiting for a longer glimpse of what this might be. Then suddenly and unexpected, but serene and beautiful a woman comes into view. Wearing a green and white floral dress and seated in a wheelchair she glides through the water. Bubbles start rising up in the background emulating her joy and freedom as she dances.
‘Creating the Spectacle!’ 360 degree Part 2 In the Antheas at Ras Katy by Sue Austin
Three screens create a digital panoramic tropical aquarium. Hundreds of orange fish flicker in the light of the beautiful, tranquil red sea in Egypt. The view is filled by the deep blue sea with huge pastel coloured coral heads colonised by the sea life.
An aquanaut in her wheelchair explores the underwater environment. On closer inspection the standard red NHS Wheelchair has been adapted with propellers under the seat, large fin-shaped clear acrylic footplates and scuba diving breathing equipment. The woman is artist Sue Austin, whose long dark brown hair flows behind her as she loops, dives and dances through the water in the new found freedom of the underwater wheelchair.
‘Creating the Spectacle!’ 360 degree Part 3 Flowing Fire
The final film in the looped panoramas was created as part of a commission from LOCOG for 2012. It has a narrative in which we find that the underwater aquanaut has discovered the 2012 Paralympic torch in the sea. She liberates it, as it smolders and burns leaving a trail of bubbles coming from the top. She dances with a ball of tiny glass fish as they flicker this way and that with flashes of light.
‘Creating the Spectacle!’ Online Part 2 Free Floating
The second single screen film is a brightly lit and euphoric piece in which the underwater wheelchair, with its human occupant becomes acrobatic, swirling around in a dance amidst a wall of bubbles. It’s the most animated and lively of the films and shows the true joy and freedom that being and performing in the chair brings.
Artist: Sue Austin
360 degree Videographer: Trish Wheatley
Single screen videographer: Norman Lomax
Music: Jack Martin and Simon Reece
Produced by: Freewheeling, www.wearefreewheeling.org.uk
With thanks to the Freewheeling team, Camel Dive team and all sponsors and supporters. Full list available online
From 10 – 14 April, there will be a 360 degree immersive installation in Salisbury Arts Centre’s main space. Staff and volunteers will be available for live audio description. Please ask at the box office for details.
Adjacent to ‘Creating the Spectacle!’ is Underwater Con.Text a special piece by Gini in response to Sue Austin’s work. Trained members of staff and volunteers are available to read this aloud and it is available online at www.disabilityartsonline.org.uk/Gini-Underwater-ConText
Turn 180 degrees to find the second section of People Like You. A collection of wall based monochrome fine detailed drawings by Gini which take inspiration from Creatives in Con.Text. Each picture reflects words spoken in the conversations.
In front of the drawings and towards the arts centre café you will find white life size soft sculptures. Gini invites you to explore them with your hands. They are: Kouros and Koure (by the steps leading to the café), echoing the classical Greek Kouroi, and are a reminder of how young and unformed our civilisation still is, and how far we have yet to travel to possibly deserve that description.
Jessie, Fons and Kosta (in the main gallery space) are both younger and older, representing the past and the future. Part human, part something other, root like they extend into the space. Without time and universal, but also unique and personal, they ask questions of a future where diversity appears increasingly problematic. The physical and emotional geography we construct to frame our coexistence in ever decreasing spaces demands ever increasing conformity – a simplification apparently necessary as counterpoint to the complexities of financial structures, political powers and ideologies that threaten to overwhelm us.
They make visible questions of the longings that thread through Gini’s arts practice from its beginning and of the questions that come alive in Con.Text conversations.
Linking the wall based work and the soft sculptures is a relief work with more of the root structures growing out from the frame. This represents a reflection of what the figures might see in the mirror, jewelled and sparkling, they are the pretty face you put on when you look in the mirror.
In the corner of the exhibition space you will find a dark blue arm chair. Gini and Mirka Golden Hann, Salisbury Arts Centre’s resident potter have created Dark Blue World a Ceramic Braille bowl with music and translation.
Settle yourself in James’s armchair and take Mirka’s pot in your hands to read the Braille. In the headphones you can hear the original music, and on the paper is Gini’s interpretation of the original song.
Nothing Changes is another collaborative Ceramic piece which is described as a Con.Text tile puzzle. The words are jumbled, explore the tiles and recreate the words from the Con.text scrolls.
the wall on the slope to the Arts Centre Café is different. Usually there is a black, drab long straight grab rail. Gini’s signature piece commissioned specially for this exhibition is the installation of shocking pink grab rails spelling out the words ‘people like you’. Well integrated into any created geography that involves changes of level, the ubiquitous grab rail, so familiar to many of us, is probably invisible to most of the population. It may be taken advantage of totally unconsciously and even unnecessarily.