Melody Shotade - I am

Arts Access Victoria presents The Museum of Us

'I am' lends time to focusing creatively on restoring one’s own sensory experience. It comprises components such as the exploration of sight, sound, and vibration.

Headshot of Melody Shotade, holding her finger to her lip

About the work

'I am' is an integrated access aesthetic development. The development’s documentation included consultation with Deaf and Disabled peers and allies. This phase one development visual draft was audio described and scripted in consultation and by Nilgun Guven (Vitae Veritas).

'I am' lends time to focusing creatively on restoring one’s own sensory experience. It comprises components such as the exploration of sight, sound, and vibration. 'I am' was symbolically designed, choreographed, and signed to steep subtly in themes of an Intercultural expression of Deaf Disabled experience, aimed to unify audiences within its multilateral form.

I hope to demonstrate, through this early attempt at a visual vernacular (story through Auslan and visual signals), that an accessible welcoming future is about the integrity of the work – so the ego needs to be set aside.

It’s not just about creating complex ideas around access, but rather, about the correct application of access as a foundation. Experimentation is an afterthought. I am is an example of finding your identity, and where one places one’s value.

Chelle Destefano is a Deaf visual artist who plays Character One. It is here that there’s a need to note that her hands are out of the frame, losing visual information for Auslan users. This demonstration offers captioning and transcription to compensate for the error in filming.

In saying this, 'I am' also demonstrates two lessons to my future self and perhaps others:

  1. Accessibility and Inclusion are key, and …
  2. It’s okay to make mistakes.

Don’t let your ego get the better of you; make room to learn as much as you can about access and continue to grow and research in a respectful and ethical manner.

Credits

Co-written, performed, and filmed by Chelle Destefano and Pearl (Melody Shotade)
Directed and produced Integrated Access Aesthetic by Pearl
Audio description by Nilgun Guven
Film editor David de Roach

Big thanks

‘Integration' from Lucent, by Valli Maine (chosen by Chelle Destefano)
Julie McNamara (Mack) – mentor
Maribel Steel – Multi-Sensory Living Specialist
Janice Florence – Choreography Mentor

Women’s Circus masterclasses

Devika Chauhan Bilimoria – Adapt Your Creative Practice In A Digital Space
masterclass
Paea Leach – shared concept in Musicality and Its Place in Movement masterclass, by
Winter Cyan
Creative Victoria – Sustaining Creative Workers Initiative
Arts Access Victoria – Auspicing Agent

Audio version of text

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