KaleidoSkeleton Ti : The Desi
KaleidoSkeleton Ti : The Desi Cyborg (2020) exhibits as a colour-subversive, and X-ray generated, audio-visual embodied stim1 . The project assembles as an unapologetic public testimony, and as a site of digital creative resistance against the daily intersectional discriminations (racism, ableism, sexism, classism and ageism), and multidimensional pain (physical, psychological, cognitive, sensorial, societal, cultural, philosophical, religious and spiritual pain), that manifests in the lives of the hidden, the unheard and the unrepresented. Aminder utilises transmedial programming and code, personal medical archives, biodata, and lifelong lived experience, to centre autonomy, subvert the medical and diagnostic gaze, and honour the neurodivergent act of stimming as a valid form of sensorial communication and tool, assisting to regulate emotions and sensory input. Simultaneously, KaleidoSkeleton Ti : The Desi Cyborg (2020) amplifies Aminder’s race and ethnicity, and cultivated ancestral healing as a child of the diaspora, through the reclamation of her Desi heritage. This was performed by decoding personal medical data, and manipulating X-rays, into specific vivid opaque colours that are synonymous with South Asian symbolism (across politics, fashion, religion and culture, in addition to rituals and rites of passage, celebrations, festivals, and traditions). Thus, piercing the multidimensional South Asian ableism that Aminder has faced. Currently, intersectional ableism has been magnified further by the global pandemic – COVID19. As a high-risk person shielding since March 2020, the process and stimming component behind KaleidoSkeleton Ti : The Desi Cyborg (2020), provided Aminder with brief moments of self-choreographed catharsis.
Aminder Virdee is a British South Asian artist, writer, activist, and Trustee at UK’s leading disability-led live music accessibility organisation, Attitude is Everything. She is also cowriter, director’s attachment, and access-centred consultant for short film Crutches (2021) funded by BFI Film London, with multi award-winning director Nathan Morris, and executive producers 104 Films (UK’s leading disability-focused film and production company). Crutches is based on Aminder’s lived experience of dating, sexuality and ableism. Aminder’s work has been commissioned, exhibited, and performed across the UK, including the National Theatre of Scotland, Lyric Theatre, Bonington Gallery, Lewisham Arthouse, Bow Arts, and Tate Exchange. In 2017, Aminder received the first NDACA award and was mentored by renowned disabled sculptor Tony Heaton OBE. Aminder is also the founder of UAL’s first disability-focused BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) Society called ‘DIVA’ (Disabled Intersectional Voices in the Arts), established in 2020. DIVA generates sites of creative resistance against institutional and educational ableism, and highlights other forms of identity markers, and oppression, that intersect disabled people’s lives, such as, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, gender, age, and survivorship.
Aminder views her practice as a creative resistance against intersectional oppression and societal injustices. As a disabled-born, chronically ill, neurodivergent Indian woman from poverty, and a multiple-survivor living with mental health conditions, Aminder’s artistic practice is navigated through an intersectional auto-ethnographic lens. Her practice is often research and life-led, inherently subverting and transforming spaces, routines, rituals, and memories, into political sites of radical agency. This traverses multiple disciplines such as social justice, technoscience, disability, race and diaspora studies, physics, physical computing, and philosophy. Aminder also works across multiple artforms as a worldremaking and dismantling tool; endlessly adapting to a world built without intersectional disability in mind. These artforms include digital and generative art, kinetic sculpture, installation, moving image, sound art, live art and performance. She often uses participatory systems to amplify unheard and unrepresented voices, and to connect lived experience to the public sphere.