On Monday 28th May, disabled artist Noëmi Lakmaier will set off from Toynbee Studios towards the City of London and one of London’s most iconic buildings, ‘The Gherkin’. The one-mile journey – that would usually take her only 10 minutes in her wheelchair – will be a slow and exhausting test of endurance, likely to take hours, as she will do it on her hands and knees.
Smartly dressed in business attire, Lakmaier will crawl through the everyday street life of London; down Brick Lane, past the Whitechapel Gallery, past the Women’s Library, via Petticoat Lane market, past shops, banks and cafés, until she arrives in the financial heart of London, her clothes now filthy and torn to threads.
Lakmaier said, ‘I am interested in emphasising the socio-geographical differences in one mile by doing it very slowly. There is so much variation in the area, even though I am travelling such a short distance.’ She explained, ‘it’s not about disability – I’d probably be doing the same thing if I wasn’t disabled. It’s mainly about doing something incredibly normal – like travelling to work – but doing something absurd and unexpected at the same time.’
Noëmi Lakmaier’s work explores notions of the ‘Other’ ranging from the physical to the philosophical, the personal to the political. The individual’s relationship to its surroundings, identity, and perception of self and other in contemporary society are core interests in her predominantly site-responsive, live and installation-based practice.
Lakmaier’s work aims to emphasize and exaggerate the relationship between object, individual and space. Through the use of everyday materials as well as her own body and the bodies of others, she constructs temporary living installations – alternative physical realities – exploring the psychological implications of power, control and insecurity, the drive to belong and succeed as well as feelings of self-doubt and otherness.
She is interested in the presence of the viewer as voyeur and how this presence can act as the catalyst that galvanizes an event and creates a tension and a divide between ‘Them’ – the passive observer – and the ‘Other’ – the objects of their gaze.
An interactive map of the route that will be used to record Lakmaier’s journey can be found at: http://www.noemilakmaier.co.uk/onemorninginmay