With the hopes of changing the perception of the wheelchair, a disabled artist, Sue Austin, designed an underwater wheelchair.
Sue Austin is a British artist who creates multimedia, performance and illustration art. In the clip below she explains how she found freedom in her wheelchair. She users her wheelchair as a means to to explore and share her freedom in new patterns of movement both above and below water as a trained scuba diver.
In 2012, Austin was commissioned to create a series of multimedia events as part of that year’s Cultural Olympiad, in conjunction with the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. The result, titled “Creating the Spectacle!” is a spectacular immersive dance performance and underwater exploration, which was shot near Sharm el Sheik, Egypt by Norman Lomax of Moving Content. You can watch a portion of the film below.
When Sue began began to scuba dive she realized that scuba gear is equipment that extends ones range of activity similarly like a wheelchair does … So she combined them and created an underwater-wheelchair.
Sue talks about her journey in the TED Talks clip below.
Sue Austin – TED Talk
For Sue, the wheelchair represents freedom and now she extends that freedom underwater with her modified wheelchair. Her modified wheelchair is equipped with battery powered propellers and large perspex aerofoils to control turns.
Sue’s hope is that one day that underwater wheelchairs will become available at dive centers around the world for other disabled individuals to experience the freedoms of scuba diving.
Watch Sue fly her wheelchair underwater with amazing agility in the video below.