NO HOPE OF RESCUE

This is the online version of a gallery piece I first created for the Transformations exhibition in 2003 (you can read more about the work below). One day I hope to create a new, much larger gallery version, complete with a broken fishing net over the top. In the meantime, I will continue adding to the images displayed here.

Anon UEL Tate Modern Stratford Circus Space Studios UEL Cotswolds Welcome Break UEL City of London Mile End Eco Centre Anon Anon Tate Modern Day Centre Science Museum Royal London Hospital UEL Railway station Psychology Unit Anon Anon Anon Advice Centre Anon UEL Anon Anon Anon National Hospital Byam Shaw Art School Anon Anon Homebase Anon ArtsAdmin Vet UEL Moto Anon Lister Anon Anon Anon Anon Anon Anon UEL Anon Anon Anon Day Centre Cotwolds Cotswolds Anon Anon
  • Anon
  • UEL
  • Tate Modern
  • Stratford Circus
  • Space Studios
  • UEL
  • Cotswolds
  • Welcome Break
  • UEL
  • City of London
  • Mile End Eco Centre
  • Anon
  • Anon
  • Tate Modern
  • Day Centre
  • Science Museum
  • Royal London Hospital
  • UEL
  • Railway station
  • Psychology Unit
  • Anon
  • Anon
  • Anon
  • Advice Centre
  • Anon
  • UEL
  • Anon
  • Anon
  • Anon
  • National Hospital
  • Byam Shaw Art School
  • Anon
  • Anon
  • Anon
  • Anon
  • ArtsAdmin
  • Vet
  • UEL
  • Moto
  • Anon
  • Lister
  • Anon
  • Anon
  • Anon
  • Anon
  • Anon
  • Anon
  • UEL
  • Anon
  • Anon
  • Anon
  • Day Centre
  • Cotwolds
  • Cotswolds
  • Anon
  • Anon

More about the work: No Hope of Rescue brings together a selection of photographs of accessible toilets in hospitals, social services centres, motorway service stations, universities and colleges, museums, airports, the Arts Council, Government buildings, arts centres and community centres - anywhere that I have needed to use the toilet in recent years.

All have one thing in common: their emergency alarm systems have been sabotaged by human interference - by cleaners, and by non-disabled people using the facilities. Either the emergency pull cords have been twisted back around the plumbing, or the cords have been cut or tied off at head height or above. More than nine out of ten of the accessible toilets that I have used over the past decade have been sabotaged in this way. NB: You may have to try hard to spot the cord at all. So do we!

Much of this interference stems from ignorance of the alarms’ function, which is to allow someone who has fallen to the floor to summon help. (It is easy to fall when transferring between a wheelchair and the toilet, or when getting up or sitting down if you have limited mobility.) The pull cord must therefore touch the ground in order to be accessible to people who may be lying on the floor some distance away. The sabotaging of the alarm systems in this way turns what would otherwise be a minor incident into a life-threatening emergency.

More generally, No Hope of Rescue explores human interference in emergency systems and culturally induced concepts of rescue. It looks at the way in which people do not simply “fall through holes in safety nets”, but often fall through holes which have been deliberately cut open and abandoned, leaving only the illusion of rescue (and, indeed, of legal compliance). And it asks questions about the way in which women and disabled people in particular are socialised to believe in the concept of rescue, rather than being brought up to rescue ourselves.

No Hope of Rescue is dedicated to the memory of Emma Humphreys. Emma was a survivor who was failed by every system that was supposed to protect her. Emma’s life story, The Map of My Life, containing extracts from her diaries, poems and other writings, is published by Astraia Press at £14.99.

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Dr Ju Gosling aka ju90's ABNORMAL: How Britain became body dysphoric and the key to a cure is available now for just £3.09 for the Kindle or in a limited-edition hardback with full-colour art plates for £20 inc UK postage and packing. Book cover