Tuesday, April 30, 2013

TED on Tuesday: Deep Sea Diving…in a Wheelchair

Image courtesy Sue Austin website...

Multimedia, performance and installation artist Sue Austin challenges our notions of what disability is. Sue is the founder and artistic director of Freewheeling, an initiative aiming to further the genre of Disability Arts.

Sue states: "My studio practice has, for sometime, centred around finding ways to understand and represent my embodied experience as a wheelchair user, opening up profound issues about methods of self-representation and the power of self-narration in challenging the nexus of power and control that created the ‘disabled’ as other."

When Sue got a powered wheelchair more than sixteen years ago, she felt a tremendous sense of freedom. However, others looked at her as though she had lost something precious―her ability to walk and move about freely. On the other hand, for Sue Austin, the power chair gave her precisely that ability. By adding modifications and additions to her chair, Sue is able to create art, and just as importantly, travel and explore the world in ways that almost defy the imagination.

This talk, filmed at TEDxWomen 2012 includes stunning footage of Sue as she dons an oxygen tank and breathing apparatus, and turns her powered wheelchair into an underwater vessel that propels her across vast ocean floors, and amongst schools of multi-coloured fish. In doing so, Sue Austin reshapes how we think about disability, and proves once again, that where there is a will, there is always a way.

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