Crippled
Pilgrim

The artist in a wheelchair outside, profile, wearing red



 
 

We are Diversity.
The experience of people who exemplify diversity can liberate the world.
Disability is political and cultural.
 
To be an artist is to question, explore, experiment, dream, research and invent. I witness from a varied, complex experience: under class, female, disability. I'm fascinated by the history, the development of thought, ideas and the whole process of consciousness; how and what this leads us to create, to believe. For me art is diversity, opening any academic discipline, issue, material, subject, technology to exploration. Anything can be used to develop ideas and disrupt a patterning, society's and my own. The distinction between art and life is in constant flux; one blurred construct overlapping another, quivering in the process.

My work is to challenge the very existence of the norm; challenge and so liberate the conforming and their limited and limiting understanding of life, politics and culture. Diverisity in body, mind and spirit doesn't restrict it advances.


There is a universal need for people to do things differently in the future; to support what is undefined, as yet. People who were excluded demand to shape and reform the future. It's not about adding or fitting into existing identity debates and discourse because we are diversity, not a static set of understandings. We, as diversity, are constantly open to change in our layered, complex, subtle experience and awareness. We disrupt traditional and contemporary theories of difference and normality. To survive we must liberate those so bound by the definition of normal.



 
Tec-Chair - Using various means, including discussion of virtual reality, communications, environmental science, architecture, robotics, the club scene etcetera, a techno-wheelchair, equipped for surveillance and assessment of society, culture and the environment, will be theorised. This is not 'assistive technology,' the typical association of disability and technology with it's premise of disability as deficiency in need of ameliorating intervention but the opposite. The Chair, in using a radical interpretation of disablility theory, analyses and deconstructs the oppression of normality, particularly for those most burdened by it, the non-disabled. The process seeks to reveal how disabled people, by their presence of significant difference, shape society, as archetypes used in opposition to construe a falsley unified condition called normality which people, in a more or less unconscious manner, are compeled to conform to.


In NetEscape the Internet spills into the room. Moving past images on nets, following the quests on linked trails, leaving answers, reading messages from people nearby and distant, we share imaginations. Send your ideas into the world by email, leave in pockets on net-hangings for the next person who enters to read.
Asked to comment writers of the trails, Pat Wycher, Bicameral Blaine, Mav Blincow and Mfnamic, said, "We leave the trails to tell their own story about who we are, if you want to know more, email us - there are computers and people to assist, we're all waiting."


The N5M3 Program wrote: "Ann Whitehurst (UK), campaigning artist and activist focusing on social stereotyping of disabled people" but work isn't around issues if social stereotyping rather Disabled people are considered and treated as archetypes and metaphors by the enabled to reinforce the imiting policy of mormalisation.



For the ICA's discussion/performance evening, part of the 'Way to Go' season, I wrote several sheets of text with questions relating to dying, death and surrounding rituals were sent. Each person was given one of the sheets to create individual contact between us. Throughout the evening other text was faxed and read out and replied to.
The installation 'On the Map' at the Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool had coloured game cards snaked along the floor (with large dice & maps). Other text became 'blue notices', placed around the building turning it into, what all the world is for Disabled people, a Disability Theme Museum.

A text description of a wheelchair journey around town was also placed as a long strip from the door, past bookshop, up to cafeteria. Reading it was to physically journey its length and, if walking, with difficulty, as it was at wheelchair height.

I was available every afternoon to respond to people's faxed messages, a facilitator was always present at the museum/gallery to encourage this. Each day I sent drawings with written quotes from the radio, a kind of journal.


During a conference/performance weekend about the future of performance and theatre 'Performance 2000' held at Kannonhallen, Copenhagen, I faxed messages, 'wrytings' and 'defoems.' These were sent between and during the giving of papers by guest speakers, read out and placed on a notice board. People faxed to me messages, not necessarily about conference issues and not necessarily complemntary of the speakers at the conference or of me. The audience were also given instruction strips, which involved them in a separate communication again. I became Ms Wryt Defoem and Bicameral Blaine - representing different identities, encouraging the recipients to choose characters too.


I enjoy adapting ideas and diversity (we're 'different', so difference is a pleasure, a pride, a celebration) enjoy being a part of different types of activities, events. When The IDA agency was at the CCA for 6 weeks, as part of the 'Bad Girls' season, I started a women's writing group. Again with the IDA, this time in Cambridge, I faxed through to a shopping centre and, whilst at The Junction, to a club evening - went on replying and receiving faxes until 3.00am - intoxicating, even without the alcohol. I'm interested in considering, pushing and crossing boundaries - my 'collaborations' with whoever takes part, moves this on.

   
Away Stay Return.'
Arts Council of England Film

Tec-Chair Bonnigton Gallery, Nottingham

ACE Live Art Publication Award

Determinable Barriers Millennium Award

The Arts Foundation Fellowship

ICA telepresent performance

Live Art Funding for Outside Centr

'On the Map' Bluecoat Gallery, ACE

Conceiving Difference
Small Acts Millennium Consortium
ACE. Digital Arts Award

The IDA Agency. ACE/HTBA

The Chair: Disabled Holocaust Memorial
(The Hood: Sustrans.)

'NetEscape' Barbican & Laing Gallery

'Dependent' News Service
Photo & HTBA commission.

Saddler's Wells: Wired

Copenhagen Performance
Telepresent performance.

Future Art Symposia

Tactical Media Amsterdam .

Video remix Lamp & Ferens, HTBA

Net the World. Dorset

YHA - Ltd./Charity

YOTA - 2

'There & Here' HTBA. Ferens

Torkradio Cambridge.

Real Liberties. HTBA & Site Gallery


Combined Arts Panel ACE



Bodies of Difference

A Different Body Inhabits
A Different Universe

Endlessly subject to
re-interpretation re-formation


Copyright
Ann Whitehurst