About the Work
We often speak about the digital divide but what about the accessibility divide? The Missing Link explores ableism in digital spaces, investigating the varied access needs of a spectrum of tech users. This is a more pressing issue now more than ever as a result of the pandemic and the digital shift in our lives. The interactive space created here aims to provoke the audience to question the norm and think about inclusion and exclusion in digital infrastructures today.
This space here, on the screen, as well as between you and the device, is intimate and personal. In our current times our relationship with technology is like second nature and our digital experiences feel like a second skin. A skin close to our breath. We breathe onto the screen and it sustains us; our interactions, our freedoms and our limitations are mediated and defined by the system and the screen. This digital aesthetic has become a norm, ruled by a set of protocols, which will always be associated with this moment in time.
The Missing Link subverts the functions of digital elements in a playful manner to present an interactive experience which is created in collaboration with the viewer/participant in a process of collective meaning making. This became a way for me to play with the dynamics of power and control in our interaction and relation with technology. Finally the intention is to reinterpret digital functions in new or different ways, through the lens of a disabled tech user, in order to critique or comment on the same in digital environments. The work has therefore been developed as an interactive, participatory experience for the viewer. It comprises of audio, video and text and is naturally a highly performative space. The audience can navigate their way through this in order to discover a new perspective and forge an informed awareness of their relationship with technology. In this regard, the project is created with an able bodied audience in mind. With this awareness on the rise, we can hope for the bridging of the accessibility divide and make technology inclusive in the truest sense.
This artwork is created as part of ‘Fissure’ curated by Shaleen Wadhwana for Virtual Nursery (2020-21) by Pollinator.
Sneha Joshi is a multidisciplinary contemporary artist and curator based in Bangalore, India. Her overarching practice focuses on challenging perceptions around sociocultural norms in the Indian and global context. She is interested in the creation and sharing of knowledge produced through conversations, mediated over varied sources and platforms with an interest in publishing. She completed her undergraduate degree in B.A. Fine Art (XD Pathway) from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London and is currently pursuing her Masters in Curatorial Practices from Srishti Manipal Institute, Bangalore. She has previously exhibited at Arts Lav (London), Tate Exchangec(Tate Modern, London), The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Arts (Rijeka, Croatia), Central Saint Martins (Kings Cross, London) to name a few and has carried out public art projects across London, Croatia and Bangalore with organisations such as ArtInTransit (Bangalore), Peckham Platform (London), Lethaby Gallery (London) and The Academy of Applied Arts (Rijeka). Her recent work for the Gender Bender Festival, supported by Goethe Institute Bangalore and Sandbox Collective, was exhibited at the Bangalore International Centre (2019). She curated a group show, Eye Contact; An Insight into Autism at the Rangoli Metro Arts Centre (Bangalore, 2018). Recently she worked with Reliable Copy (Bangalore 2020) as a curatorial research assistant, where she worked on the recently published 1Shantiroad Cookbook amongst other projects.
Artist website: www.snehajoshistudio.com
Acknowledgments and Credits for The Missing Link
At the outset, I would like to also acknowledge that as an able bodied individual, my work has been designed to speak with able bodied audiences in an attempt to pass on the awareness I have myself acquired over the years as a result of living with a disabled family member. I have engaged in countless conversations around accessibility and experienced the consequences of ableism in my own life, and I speak about these issues from a position through which I have closely observed the same. I am an ally of the disabled community and intend to use my platform as an opportunity to speak about issues of concern for the disabled community. In this regard, I would like to thank Pollinator Studio, Shaleen Wadhawana and the jury for Virtual Nursery for supporting, showcasing and helping bring these concerns onto a larger platform provoking pertinent conversations around accessibility and ableism.
I would like to acknowledge my family and friends for their support through the creation of this work in the form of valuable conversations, feedback, encouragement, critique as well as warm comforting meals. Further I would like to thank my technical advisors and collaborators, including fellow residents Ani Dala and Deepikah Bhardwaj, as well as Vaibhav Bhasin and Ashmi Mridul for their expertise in digital knowledge towards the creation of this work.
This project gained immense value as a result of the feedback received from my fellow residents, Shaleen Wadhwana (curator of the residency), Pollinator Studio, and the mentors as well as industry experts who engaged with us during the residency. A component of the work was developed in collaboration with participants who attended a private workshop I conducted in December 2020 titled ‘Our Relationship with Technology’, contributing their insights towards the work through creative participation. For this I would like to thank Ashmi Mridul, Shalini Rajan, James Kannanthara, and Anshul Jain for their time, provocations, as well as the discussions we shared. Conversations with Radhika Jain and members of the Revival Disability Magazine Support group, including founder and editor-in-chief Anusha Misra added invaluable criticality and offered insightful perspectives towards the work produced. I also want to thank Revival Disability Magazine for the amazing work they are doing within the Indian context of disability.
Working with the staff and students at Colours Centre for Learning, an NGO for Autism in Bangalore was a great learning for me and I would like to thank all of them for their support, patience, guidance and the generosity with which we worked together. This experience will undoubtedly contribute towards my future projects and understandings. I thank them for their time and understanding.
The following sources of information or content appear on the website in the form of video or text excerpts.
I have had the pleasure of working and being in residence for Virtual Nursery with these two incredible artists. I recommend you get to know them and their work for the residency too.
Ani Dalal - Lost in a Dreamscape
Deepikah Bhardwaj - Sarv Satvik Rashtra