Sue Austin

Multimedia, performance & installation artist

BA Show – Freewheeling, Present and Absent (2009)

About the project

An underlying concept of this work is that of the presences and absences created by socio-cultural concepts around disability and the semiotic content associated with the objecthood of the wheelchair.

"Without this wheelchair I am absent from society, unable to take part in the social network of becoming, unable to add my own narrative to the multitudinous stories from which our lives and cultures are woven.

Within this wheelchair I also find myself absent from society, a cloak of invisibility seems to descend when negotiating social spaces.

Through the traces of play created by performing my identity and the appropriation of techniques used to mark out fields of play, I re-establish a presence within myself, a social absence becomes a physical presence. It also becomes a conceptual presence through the way it leads those observing to become playful as they divert to interact with the presence of the wheelchair through its traces when it is a physically absence.

By exploring the subjective narratives created by my use of the wheelchair and the traces it leaves, I hope to reconfigure the preconceptions of the viewer and lead to a revaluing of the wheelchair."
Press Coverage:
Press/media coverage from Freewheeling: Present and Absent and A Present Absence or an Absent Presence

The Plymouth Herald - Pavement Artists Leave Trail in Plymouth

The Plymouth Herald - Art Students Shatter Stereotypes

BBC Devon - Arts Students Paint Plymouth White

BBC Devon - Your Stories Freewheeling Art

Plymouth University - Blazing a Trail to the Degree Show

Plymouth University - Plymouth Arts Students Blaze a Trail

Up Front - University of Plymouth Magazine Students Blaze a Trail (PDF download in folder)