Disability Film Festival and more

On December 9th and 10th I had the great pleasure of attending Together! 2012’s Disability Film Festival, part of their programming for the Together! Disability History Month Festival (17 November – 15 December, 2017). The Disability Film Festival, which ran from Dec 8 – 10, included a huge variety of contributions from Deaf and disabled film-makers (see here for the full program). The Festival also meaningfully engaged with connections between VibraFusionLab, Together! 2012, the Milieux Institute’s Participatory Media cluster (including the Mobile Media Lab and the Critical Disability Studies Working Group), and artists from East London and Quebec, through the session “TRANSATLANTIC VIBRATIONS Connecting East London & Québec through Film & Digital Art” which kicked off Saturday, Dec 9th’s programming. This session included screenings of Véro Leduc’s C’est tombé dans l’oreille d’une Sourde (2015) and Les productions des pieds des mains’ Eurêka! (2016, dir. Menka Nagrani and David B. Ricard) among others films. Denis Langlois’ feature full-length Y’est où le paradis? / A Paradise Too Far (2017) was also screened later in the day. Together! 2012 had constructed a ‘ vibrabench’ for the festival inspired by David Bobier’s (of VibraFusionLab) approach to working with vibrotactile technologies for accessibility and inclusion in artistic practice.

During the Transatlantic Vibrations session we had a Q + A and general discussion about the Vibrations project and the films we had just watched. The vibrabench remained hooked up for the entire festival. Throughout my attendance, I watched several of the films from the vibrabench noticing especially how different frequencies travelled through the bench and my body.

I was in London for another day after the closing of the festival and Julie Newman was kind enough to show me her wheelhouse studio at Trinity Buoy Wharf. While I was there she demonstrated her installation – in connection with her Dreaming the Voyage project – that uses a powerful surface transducer attached to the wheelhouse door to turn the structure into a loudspeaker. A meditative sound composition set the wheelhouse vibrating. This compelling work sparked a lively discussion between Newman and myself on sound, vibration, and waterways. Newman also showed me recent video footage from a workshop she had led as part of the Disability History Festival, in which participants took turns exploring the vibrational possibilities of the wheelhouse using a microphone and the surface transducer, as well as engaging with the impressive array of objects Newman has collected inside her studio.

I greatly appreciated the opportunity to attend the Disability Film Festival and visit Julie Newman’s studio. I’d like to thank Ju Gosling and Julie Newman, as well as Kim Sawchuk and all the folks at from the Vibrations project at Concordia University for making this possible.    

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