Art and scuba diving are surreal, moving and beautiful in very different ways. But what happens when you put them together? Be among the first in the Southern Hemisphere to experience a once-in-a-lifetime performance by artist Sue Austin, literally underwater. Dive into the Adelaide Aquatic Centre pool and witness a spectacle on one of the world’s most unique stages, with tickets for ‘Creating the Spectacle!’ available now.
Admission is available for both certified divers ($140) and those who need to undertake scuba training ($290). Very limited spots are available for the diving option, so get in quick. If you’d prefer to watch poolside, the spectacle will be beamed on to the big screen live at the Adelaide Aquatic Centre. Poolside tickets are available here.
Austin, a British multimedia, performance and installation artist, will take her wheelchair underwater to perform a stunningly beautiful work that will be filmed and projected poolside. The award-winning Restless Dance Theatre will accompany her with a performance as part of the unique event, which opens up debate around societal attitudes to disability through the presentation of empowered and empowering images.
Here are the reasons you should dive underwater to see extraordinary art from Sue Austin.
Her underwater wheelchair is a world-first
Austin invented her underwater wheelchair with dive experts and academics. It’s an incredible example of technology: self-propelled, the model is powered by a pair of dive propulsion vehicles and steered with a special fin and foot-operated acrylic strip.
Austin reportedly worked with her team for months on the project to ensure perfect buoyancy.
She co-founded arts organisation ‘Freewheeling’
To help bring her ‘Creating the Spectacle!’ artwork to life, Austin co-founded an arts organisation with collaborator Trish Wheatley called Freewheeling.
Not long after that, ‘Creating the Spectacle!’ made waves across the world when it was presented as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, a series of cultural events that accompanied the Olympics.
She’s taken open water dives around the world
From a dive club in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt to the pool facilities of Dorset, England, Austin has taken plenty of open water dives in her wheelchair.
But regardless of the experience she’s accumulated, her ‘Creating the Spectacle!’ performances are still physically demanding, which she told Access Magazine is in part because of her choice of clothing.
“I originally tried using all sorts of different costumes for the artwork, before realising that I ought to come back to the original photograph, in which I was wearing a summer dress – that I should try to create a coherent development,” she told Access Magazine. To get around the problem, Austin says she now uses techniques to ensure her core temperature goes back up as quickly as possible.
Her work is an expression of freedom
Austin’s artistic work has been described as “like an extraordinary underwater ballet”, and that it has the power to break down engrained perceptions people have of disability.
“I started wanting to make work around my wheelchair, but what I found was that everyone always interpreted it as if I was trying to say something negative about limitation fear,” Austin told the BBC.
“But for me it’s always been about freedom, it’s transformed my life.”