T/Act: Disability, Participation, and Empowerment through Media Performance

By Andy Best-Dunkley.

Published by The International Journal of New Media, Technology and the Arts

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: December 2, 2014 $US5.00

Our current lifestyle is reliant upon media technologies. Our lives are organised through and by technology, such that we can easily forget the importance of physical social interaction. Instead of being empowered by technology, humans are enslaved to its seductive powers. Is it possible to move away from this focus on the technological and rather discuss the act of using the interface, the performance? Does access to media technology in itself empower the participant, particularly if that person is herself on the margins of society? In the research described in this paper the author attempts to answer the following question: Can the use of media technologies enhance the possibilities for people with disabilities to express themselves creatively on equal terms with able bodied people through a design process in which they are deeply involved? It is the author’s contention that, in contrast to traditional visual arts, interactive media art and participation in media performance demand an embodied experience. The physical act of doing and being in a public space can lead to an empowering cognitive experience with long lasting consequences for the active participant.

Keywords: Media Art, Social Empowerment, Disability, Participation, Interaction, Performance, Accessibility

The International Journal of New Media, Technology and the Arts, Volume 8, Issue 3-4, December 2014, pp.1-8. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: December 2, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 782.833KB)).

Andy Best-Dunkley

Doctoral Student, Department of Media, Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Helsinki, Finland