So I spent the majority of my weekend emailing the huge backlog of people I have to contact and it has been a good thing to get done.
There is a national campaign working in the arena of disabled sexuality: and I have spoken with them about an exhibition I am planning as part of my MA project. They responded to my last email today notifying me that they have a partner who wants to supply high quality underwear to their campaign but as they don’t have a photoshoot planned at present they are going to give the opportunity to me instead which is fantastic.
There are also some people involved in the campaign posing for me and I am attending their next meeting in London in January to discuss where we’re going.
Similarly Mik Scarlet, disabled activitst,actor and TV/Radio presenter is going to come to the meeting and is also excited about being involved, told me he’s going on a diet to as fit as possible for the shoot.
I am really nervous but excited about this project, it is a work on a scale I have not attempted before and I feel it is a new chapter in my work. I am using it as a way to explore new methods for conveying my ideas, many which I possess the skills for but have not utilised in the context of showing it.
So you’ve probably realised I like to come up with corny and slightly childish titles for my posts.
I had an email from an alcohol producer the other day to say they couldn’t contemplate my grant application due to using an image that featured a person under the age of 18.
The offending image was this from a 2013 project I did called With Me, Without Me.
As the project forms the bulk of the artwork for my MA and is largely in the research phase I did not, and do not have any acceptable images as of yet and so as the work focuses around what is visible versus what is invisible (with particular regard to illness and disability); I thought it would be an image to use this photo to illustrate the idea as there are links between the two.
Well as I said they would not accept it owing to a child being present (afterall children cannot drink alcohol). So this left me in the position of visibly describing the project without having any work to show as of yet.
This is why I decided to create a mood board for those parts of the project I am already planning. Although I understand physical mood boards are best, this has been done digitally owing to space, time and physical constraints relating to my disability.
What is of paramount importance to this project is that people are made to question their belief about who they are and how they see themselves in relation to others. Especially how “able” , “well” and “normal”people view themselves in relation to those they perceive as “other” (with specific reference to those with illness and/or disability).
Although this is quite a dark and confrontative project, I also feel there is a lightness to it. A sort of truth and reconciliation process with the self and with the other.
SO yes this is off topic and possibly not the place: when I give the link to my lecturers what will they say when they see something that is not directly MA related.
Well I argue that this is during my MA so it is in fact relevant.
As I have previously mentioned I created, organised and ran a big art event over 17 venues this year and I have been busy planning a massive ARTS FESTIVAL for next year, encompassing all of the arts not just “art”.
Anyhow I’ve been busy networking and the like and this morning I had a meeting with the local council who I won a grant from for this year’s event. Anyhow I really impressed them with my previous work apparently and they love my ideas and [drum roll please]…………..
THEY ARE DEFINITELY GOING TO BE PRACTICALLY INVOLVED AT SOME LEVEL!!!!!!!!!!!!! (with next year’s big Arts Festival)
There is even the possibility they will become full on partners running a lot of it with me but still with me as the head honcho.
Yes I have a huge amount of work to do and yes with the council working with me I will be constrained but I can’t help feeling this is an amazing thing and I am feeling really quite proud right now.
So this week has been a bit of a manic one for me….mostly through my own doing.
In my attempt to bring one of the ideas for my MA series to fruition I started yapping to people on twitter last week and things kind of snowballed. It seems that there are people who “get” my idea and who are willing to strip off in the name of art and awareness of the sexuality of visibly disabled people and I am already accruing the input and help of a motley crew that includes disabled activists, bloggers, journalists/presenters, transgender academics, feminist activists and a charity campaign…. all very exciting stuff. In fact though I am as south coast based as you can get I am making my way up as North on England as you can get in the Spring to shoot people and seem to have quite a lot happening between London and the Midlands.
I also had a meeting last Thursday with a dementia champion. I am working on a piece for a touring exhibition to raise awareness of dementia and bettering our highstreets to help sufferers. I decided it made far more sense to interview someone who had experience of dementia and who lived with it day in day out, than to create a disingenuous piece just to further my own profile. I spent over 3 hours talking with this woman and came out inspired; knowing exactly what I would produce and luckily the charity are excited by my concept too.
The added problem with all of this is of course my own illness and disability; in fact I am writing this very blog post from my sick bed having been forced to leave University after 1 hour yesterday due to the severity of my relapse. Though illness does give you a unique insight it does make life almost unbearable sometimes as it does tend to get in the way of well, having a life and doing what you need to be doing to make use of this gift we were all given: life.
I was meant to be teaching an art course for families where children have developmental disabilities today but my illness has incapacitated me to the extent that I cannot leave my bed and I should not, in truth, really be writing this even. It is depressing when I think about it so I try not to and anyhow I have a meeting with the council tomorrow morning about further art projects I am working on and trying to get their support, a meeting I am sad to say, I cannot postpone: you can’t trust councils it’s taken me 2 months to arrange this meeting.
Still as I always tell myself, there are always people in a worse predicament and to get where you want to go in life you have to be willing to put in that extra work.
Firstly I would like to start by saying that my husband thinks that I use that word far too much. But I do feel that it is warranted. Whilst doing a lot of reading for the research part of my MA project and watching a documentary about degenerate art I finally understood what I want my MA to be and my work to say.
There will be 3 parts to my project: a sound and video (of a kind) installation; a photographic exhibition and an installation that launches a full on assault of the senses.
The work looks at ideas of the other and invisibility , with specific reference to disability in all its forms.
This work is extremely personal to me as someone with a physical disability (through illness); a mental illness (Generalised Anxiety Disorder, possible panic disorder) and a son who has autism and a physical disability. I feel that we inhabit a world where we treat disability with the same attitude we have to death. There are acceptable faces of disability and those which fill people with disgust and fear.
We approve of disability only when it is removed from ourselves; only when it is clean, and neutral and sanitized. We do not want it shoved in our faces. We want a backstory; that epic X Factor moment when we discover this person’s harrowing story and we view them as hero: it helps if they are attractive and if they can walk.
Our entire view of disability is wrong. We view those with physical disability as mentally incapacitated (when sat in my wheelchair I am often overlooked as people speak instead to my biped husband) and those with mental disability (whether through mental illness or that horrible term of intellectual disability) as being well and able and if they do not act as we deem necessary as miscreants. We fail to see what is really in front of our eyes.
Through this project I aim to tackle this head on, to produce a multi-sensory project that makes us question who we are and our assertions about what disability is and why we view it in a particular way.