February 2018 – start of the latest Low Residency intensive 10 days.
We began with an inspiring and challenging talk by artist, performer and Camberwell College of Arts alumna, Jess Thom. Jess is also known as Tourettes Hero.
Quoting from their website: ‘www.touretteshero.com is a place to celebrate the humour & creativity of Tourettes.
It’s not about mocking or commiserating – it’s about reclaiming the most frequently misunderstood syndrome on the planet and… Changing the World One Tic at a Time’
Jess talked about her verbal tics, the strange and unusual combination of words that she often comes out with as a ‘random creativity generating machine’ and these were the trigger for collaborative group work for the rest of the day.
However before we got to the making, Jess discussed the ‘social model of disability’ which is in contrast to the medial or charity models of disability. The medical and charity model says people are disabled by their own impairments or differences, but the social model says people aren’t disabled by their impairments but by a failure to consider difference in the way society is organised. Jess gave an example:
‘…it’s not my tics that mean I can’t call up my Internet service provider to sort out a fault, it’s their voice-activated system that disables me and means I can’t do it myself.’
The new building at Camberwell College of Arts did allow easy access to the lecture theatre for Jess in her wheelchair, however the Fine Art Digital studio is in the old Victorian original building of the college and is completely inaccessible to a wheelchair. The good news is that the main entrance now has a long ramp instead of our old steep stairs.
So we used Toutetteshero’s tics as provocations and triggers for art making. Small groups of 4 could each choose one of more tics and create animations, films, sound or images. We had a premier of this output at 17.00 in the canteen on a large screen.