Open Access Walsall
The exhibition showing from now until 6th March in the Open Gallery is Open Access by Natalie², the show is in empty retail property, procured by Hammond Associates, at Old Square Shopping Centre Walsall. The mixed media installation uses dismantled technology, carefully selected threaded books, photography and interview extracts to explore the ongoing issues surrounding digital inequality (www.nataliesquared.co.uk) . The work aims to unplug the silence about who is able to access digital technology and who is represented through social media platforms. The piece is inspired by the closure of local public libraries and the reduction of library services, such as those of Birmingham’s new city centre library, where the question of accessibility is forcibly highlighted. The interviews were taken from participants that are either volunteers or service users of Sifa Fireside in Digbeth, Birmingham – a charity that tackles homelessness and alcohol misuse. Natalie² is a multimedia, visual arts initiative led by Dr Natalie Shona Hart and Dr Natalie Linda Jones. Having met while studying in 2011, they were immediately struck by the cross-over between both their arts-based practice, theoretical research and ambition to expose the (almost) unspoken inequalities now growing ever-wider in regards to the social gap. Their work is driven by their mutual determination to probe issues of social inequality, and to highlight the ‘lost narratives’ of everyday, ordinary, life in which the effects of this can be seen. Integrating participation is also, therefore, a crucial aspect of their practice. There will be a chance to meet the artists and the rest of Direct Art Action at a free launch event of Open Access in the Open Gallery on 18th February between 6-8pm. The installation can be viewed from 10-6pm in the Open Gallery, Old Square Shopping Centre, Old Square, Walsall until March 6th and entry is free.