Eden Unearthed is serious about access for all. Naturally we have usual disabled parking spots, lifts, ramps and accessible bathrooms, but we want our art exhibition to be inclusive, so it engages with a broad and diverse audience.
To motivate artists to think about engaging all the senses, Eden Unearthed awards an Accessibility Award, sponsored by the Royal Rehab Foundation. This year the award went to Alix Crowe with her work titled The Night Music Box.The Night Music Box (recycled steel and plywood, shelf pins, 2021) is a 1-meter diameter record depicting the constellations of the sky above it. The record is part of a wooden gear system that an audience member can interact with to produce sound.
Clinical horticultural therapist and judge Claire Boyle remarked, “It is not only accessible physically but unlocks the night sky to those that have low or no vision, translating a concept into a hurdy gurdy that can not only sound out the night sky, but also is tactile and awe inspiring.”
Crowe, a student at the University of New South Walesremarked “I can honestly (and not so humbly say) The Night Music Box is the greatest thing I have ever made. It fits perfectly with the ethos of Eden Gardens, creating ecological and social harmony. Being almost entirely constructed from recycled material, and requiring no power to operate. The natural world is honoured within this work, and the music of the cosmos is a reminder of the beauty of nature. The Night Music box also acts as a medium of connecting people through music and shared awe. In the time of coronavirus, music is a profound (and socially distanced) way of connecting people. The music box acts as a medium to gather people of all ages and backgrounds to ponder things greater than themselves.”
Other works that are particularly engaging for all abilities according to Boyle include Sticks and Stones, by Elizabeth West, which is a labyrinth with accompanying soundtrack, and My Happy Place, by Alison Thompson, which includes a rocking chair among the brightly coloured textile piece.
Eden Unearthed also has an accompanying catalogue that is virtual and engaging with QR codes linking to artists talks, and large print and Braille version of the catalogue available to borrow from reception.
By: Meredith Kirton