An Absent Presence or a Present Absence? An Installation in Three Parts

Precusors to the work: 'Freewheeling - traces from a wheelchair' Exhibition at Holton Lee, Dorset, 23 March to 2nd May 2009. Temporary white line marking fluid installed over 1 mile driveway
An Absent Presence? Readymade with video cameras, Roland Levinsky Building, 7th - 29th June 2009. With Fiona.
Present and Absent. White wheelchair Tracks, From Roland Levinsky Building to Royal William Yard, 7th June 2009, With Fiona. Traces made with temporary white line marking fluid across the pavers in Plymouth City Centre for the Freewheeling public art intervention in June to August 2009
Sue Austin, Jack Morris and Shirley Phillips at University of Plymouth, 5th June 2009, Setting up and preparing to experiment with the paintwheelchair and the paint bicycle that was developed from it.
Jack Morris and Sue Austin alongside traces installed by the paintwheelchair outside the main entrance to the University of Plymouth. Photographer: Lloyd Russell, University of Plymouth
The proposed routes for the tracks

An Absent Presence of a Present Absence? An Installation in Three Parts:
i) An Absent Presence? Readymade with video cameras, Roland Levinsky Building, 7th June 2009, With Fiona Lovell. 7th June -29th June 2009
ii) Present and Absent? White wheelchair Tracks, From Roland Levinsky Building to Royal William Yard, 7th June 2009, With Fiona Lovell.
iii) A Present Absence? Computer Room, Millhouse Bakery, Royal William Yard, Video Floor projection: ‘A Different Perspective’, DVD, projector, paper screen 5ftx4ft, speaker and cube seating, 5th June 2009, With Emma Van Huysse and Andy Banks. 7th – 29th June 2009.

Artistic Practice:
This studio practice centres around finding ways to understand and represent an embodied experience as a wheelchair user. It opens up 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’.

Having explored print and sculpture, work then led to video projections, performance, installation and an exploration of the mark making possibilities of my power wheelchair produced by play. While exploring the objecthood of the wheelchair, another aim was to find a material, indexical expression of the sense of agency, freedom and expansion engendered by the experience of using a ‘power’chair

From examining whether a wheelchair becomes part of one’s body consciousness, the work developed into a consideration of narrative theory and how identity is created.

The ‘power’chair becomes a portal pushing one to develop a more integrated and deeply rooted identity that does not rely on received wisdoms. It facilitates a re-making of one’s identity through the artistic and research process. By exploring the subjective narratives created by the use of the wheelchair and the traces it leaves, the intention is to reconfigure the preconceptions of the viewer and lead to a revaluing of the wheelchair.

www.susanaustin.co.uk