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Introduction to my interactive accessible art installation / 28 July 2015

‘A Womb With A View’ is my creative response to growth attenuation treatment, gender identity and the reproductive rights of disabled people, particularly women.  

In 2007 a young disabled girl, ‘Ashley X’, had a hysterectomy to improve her quality of life. The combination of the surgery and the oestrogen therapy attracted much public comment and ethical analysis, both supportive and condemning.

Recent cases of growth attenuation, dubbed ‘The Ashley Treatment’, have once again resurfaced in the media. I feel the time is right to explore these issues further using the research already produced. I am keen to not only address perceptions of disability, but also identity and gender. This installation is a journey into the complexities of ‘womanhood’ and our reproductive rights. 

I am currently in the process of finishing off composing a live soundscape using samples from some of the striking commentary spoken by disabled women of all ages and backgrounds mixed with some ambient/electronic musical elements.

The end piece will be an interactive accessible art installation, which would be representative of a womb structure or space. Visitors would enter the space and become part of an interactive piece of art by means of triggering a motion and touch sensor, which in turn would trigger or manipulate the spoken audio samples and music. This process would bring to life the issues around ‘The Ashley Treatment’ in a potent, physically interactive way.

I have interviewed a cross section of disabled activists, academics actors and artists about the issues they have faced as women.  ‘A Womb With A View’ provides audiences with a unique insight into disability, bioethics and womanhood in a modern world.

The documentary is both funny, hopeful and at times heart wrenching. I am excited to be starting to work in collaboration with painter/ sculptor Jennifer Bryant, to present the piece in a physical form.

Keywords: disability art,disability representation,disability sexuality,identity and gender,reproductive rights,socially engaged art


richard downes

28 July 2015

best wishes with your project Gemma