Unfixed 2.0: Challenging Perceptions of Disability

Australian artists Indigo Eli, Michele Saint-Yves, Daniel Savage and John Willanksi travelled to London recently to join UK artists, Jane Gauntlett, Caglar Kimyoncu, Catherine Long, Aidan Moesby, Tim Wheeler and Sue Williams to participate in the Creative Development Lab program for ‘Unfixed’. This residency program presents the opportunity for artists to creatively investigate the determination of bodies as ‘disabled’ or ‘abled’, and how assistive technologies can provide alternative ways of experiencing the world rather than as a means to ‘fix’. ‘Unfixed 3.0’, will take place in 2017.

The Creative Research project was developed in 2014 to engage Australian and UK Deaf and disabled artists to consider the arts, disability and technology, as part of the Unlimited Commissions Programme, and to join in with the celebrations during the 2016 Unlimited Festival. This is an unrivalled festival program, with no existing opportunity for artists within this context in Australia. In 2018 commissions will open to international collaborations for the first time.

During their stay the artists exchanged their creative skills and knowledge for ‘Unfixed 2.0’. They discussed diversity, practice and medium, invisible or visible, fixed vs unfixed, how disability is experienced and the way it shapes each individual’s existence. Together with the Pervasive Media Studio, a community of resident artists, creative companies, technologists and academics working with design and creative technology in the UK, they explored ways to include emerging and assistive technologies to develop their ideas into physical work, with the presentation of a final project.

Artists Savage and Gauntlett, share an interest in the ‘subjectivity of experience’. To bring this idea to life they produced a cinema performance with a short film featuring dialogue between four characters. The conversation is heard through speakers then via an unseen directional speaker the audience could hear the inner monologue of one of the characters each with a different perspective on the conversation. On leaving the cinema the audience discover, while discussing the film, they each had a different idea of what took place. The intention, says Savage, is “that the audience will then reflect on their experiences out in the world and start to consider how every interaction can be seen in such vastly different ways, making them more open and seeing the world as less black and white.”

Unfixed artist, Caglar Kimyoncu

Produced by The Australian Network for Art & Technology (ANAT), Access2Arts (AUS), Unlimited (UK) and Watershed.

Unfixed artist, Caglar Kimyoncu, captures Watershed resident, Sabrina Shirazi, presenting to the group
Photograph: Fee Plumley
Courtesy the artist and The Australian Network for Art & Technology (ANAT), South Australia