The Walkie-Talkies is a multimedia artwork by socially engaged artist Michelle Baharier, based on a poem by David Morris called the Routemaster race. David was a disability advisor to the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone (and Boris Johnson) and a life-time campaigner for disabled peoples’ civil-rights. His poem encapsulates the exclusion experienced by disabled people before the buses were made accessible and the excitement of inclusion.
Ten digital collages track the absurd, the unfortunate and the ordinariness of our bus journeys through the perspective of those who have used and worked on the London buses.
The collages convey a range of experience, including the experience of differently-abled people’s ability to use public transport, in particular pensioners, many of whom will now have acquired impairments.
The full collection (released in instalments from 8th June) are designed to be experienced both on your travels using London transport via your device, or at home.
In Part Two of The Walkie-Talkies, Michelle shares a collection of poetry by Highgate poets in response to their Routemaster and other bus journeys.
In Part Three of The Walkie-Talkies, Michelle edits a selection of her interviewees, talking about their first time riding a London Routemaster bus.
Part Four of The Walkie-Talkies, sees participants in Michelle’s interviews share seminal memories of sightseeing on the buses.
In Part Five of The Walkie-Talkies, the Routemaster riders chronicle their diverse experiences of London travel.
Part Six of The Walkie-Talkies is a collage of childhood memories played out on the buses.
Part Seven: The Space Inbetween Bus Stops is a meditative soundscape of the sound and rhythms of the bus.
Part Eight: All Aboard is inspired by the disabled people’s civil rights movement to make buses accessible.
Part nine of The Walkies-Talkies tells London Bus Stories from lockdown; recording how Covid-19 has changed the way we use public transport in 2021.
In part ten, Michelle speaks to campaigner Sue Elsegood about disabled people broke the law, to make the law.
Michelle has made these art works with members of: Golden Oldies, Southwark Irish Pensioners Project, and The Highgate Poetry Society This project was made possible by Arts Council England National Lottery funding and supported by Disability Arts Online and Transport for All.
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Fb: Michelle Baharier