“Hold tight!” if you can remember that saying, remember the conductors? They used to shout just before the bus moved, lots of people would be holding on, swaying to and fro.
The Walkie-Talkies is an artwork by socially engaged artist Michelle Baharier, working with a number of community groups and based on a poem by David Morris called the Route master race. David was a disabled wheelchair user and unable to use the bus, therefore excluded from London life. The works explore inclusion on public transport, this experience of the route master, the double-decker bus, and David’s poem.
Ten digital collages will 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 will 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 disabilities.
Michelle is working with the Golden Oldies, Southwark Irish Pensioners and Southwark Pensioners. The project will prioritise on the No. 1 bus which used to go from Penge to Woodgreen (now from Canada water to Tottenham Court Road, with the 176 taking part of its original route).
Released as a series of 10 collages, these will be available for free via the Disability Arts Online website. Starting on the 8th June, 2 collages per week will be released and available to listen to on go (perhaps on the bus yourself) via any device. https://disabilityarts.online
Images: Michelle Baharier