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> > > From sea to sky: Artist Sue Austin takes wheelchair to dizzy new heights

4 September 2014

A new documentary has launched charting multimedia, performance and installation artist Sue Austin’s journey to create her upcoming artwork, Creating the Spectacle!: Flying Free.

Creating the Spectacle!: Flying Free has been commissioned by digital art website, The Space, and Unlimited, a project supporting and celebrating disabled and deaf artists.

The work will be released later this year and will see Sue in her wheelchair, soaring high in the air through dramatic scenery to express freedom and adventure. Creating the Spectacle!: Flying Free is a follow up to Sue’s first work in the series, which received global acclaim and which featured her in her unique underwater wheelchair, receiving over 150 million views to date.

Sue explained: “For me, the first time I used a wheelchair brought me the most amazing sense of joy and freedom, but to others it represented loss and limitation. Through art, I wanted to transform preconceptions and create positive life enhancing narratives around the physicality of the wheelchair through the creation of surreal juxtapositions.

“Flying Free is really pushing the boundaries of my practice as a performance and digital artist. Fledgling Flights documents the first stage in creating a digital artwork that features a flying wheelchair. 

Many layers of complexity and unexpected challenges are needing to be overcome in order to learn to fly while making sure safety is absolutely paramount to the endeavour. The flying wheelchair will have to conform to aeronautical standards and, for the artwork to be successful, will still need to be recognisably a wheelchair. 

This is my most ambitious artwork to date that invites the viewer to question their preconceptions about disability and what is possible. The Space is the perfect platform to allow me to Fly Free!”

The launch of the documentary coincides with the start of the third Unlimited Festival, which takes place at Southbank Centre (2-7 September 2014). The event features theatre, dance, music, literature, comedy and visual arts that celebrate difference and disability with a spirit of artistic adventure, honesty and humour.

Creating the Spectacle!: Flying High – Fledgling Flight is available to view on The Space website

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