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Southampton exhibition for London 2012 project inspired by geography and the hidden depths of disability

  • Date: 25 January 2012
  • Area: South East
Blue Touch Paper, Look About, Jon Adams, 2012

Blue Touch Paper, Look About, Jon Adams, 2012.

An artist and trained geologist commissioned by London 2012 Cultural Olympiad programme to chart its South East four-year legacy opens an exhibition in Southampton.

Portsmouth-based artist Jon Adams’s Look About creatively monitors and responds to over 25 disabled artists’ Cultural Olympiad projects, the results of which are on display at Southampton City Art Gallery. It will then tour to partner organisations. During the London 2012 games, his work Transmission will then be showing at the British Geological Survey.

A former geologist, Jon decided to dust off his field equipment and use geological techniques and metaphor to ‘map the cultural shift’ which has come about through the Olympic and Paralympic inspired work of Deaf and disabled artists over the past four years.

The final culmination of his project is an artistically driven, multi layered project weaves together science and art, digital and analogue and Jon’s autobiographical experiences of Dyslexia and Aspergers.

Look About is part of Accentuate, a transformational programme of 15 projects  inspired by the Paralympic Movement which seeks to change perceptions and offer opportunities to showcase the talents of Deaf and disabled people. Accentuate is funded by Legacy Trust UK, creating a lasting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games across the UK, SEEDA and Arts Council England. The home of Accentuate is Screen South.

The Look About exhibition features film, animation and sound works inspired by Jon’s mapping and observations of the Cultural Olympiad, as well as illustrations and ‘fossils’ he found on fact-gathering trips to visit projects, such as hair clips, napkins and train timetables.

At the end of the project, post the Olympic Games, Jon will be able to use his extraordinary ability to systemise to bring all these elements together to illustrate the impact of the Games on the cultural sector through creating a new geological map of the South East.

Jon Adams said: ‘For deeply personal reasons, I have adopted geological themes and metaphors to interpret and reveal new perspectives on disability, the arts and the geological sciences.  This approach stems from my struggles to become the artist I had always kept hidden because of the bullying I received at school because of my dyslexia.’

Sally Abbott, Regional Director, Arts Council England, said, ‘Look About is an innovative and exciting project for us and is one of the many projects that celebrates the talents of Deaf and disabled people in the run up to the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. This project will creating a lasting legacy for the South East  by mapping out and archiving the Cultural Olympiad. I look forward to seeing and being inspired by the various aspects of the project in venues across the region in the coming year and seeing the finished product at the end of 2012.’
Look About is on at Southampton City Art Gallery from now until until 31 March. The exhibition will also go to Artsway, Aspex, Chapel Arts, University of Portsmouth, Towner Art Gallery, Quay Arts, LV21, Pallant House, Kaleidoscope, and Winchester Discovery Centre.

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