Dr. Trish Adams

Artist & Arts Researcher

In an Australian first, the Disconnections Multimedia Exhibition features two multimedia pieces created specifically to put people in the in the position of those with a hearing loss so they can experience first-hand the sensory deprivation and social isolation that comes with hearing loss.

As a severely hearing impaired artist, I consider myself well-placed to explore and expand upon the issues encountered by deaf people within the community.My intention has been to design interactive artworks that give those with normal hearing some experiential understanding of what deafness FEELS like’.

Disconnections draws upon these personal experiences of hearing loss to create interactive artworks that demonstrate how hearing loss impacts on most aspects of living, particularly communication – something most people take for granted.

The project began with a period of scientific research with Prof. Antonio Paolini at his ‘Sensory Lab’ at the Health Innovations Research Institute, RMIT University.

After this experience, I moved into the artwork developmental phase in collaboration with RMIT University Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow, Dr Jonathan Duckworth, and his CiART Team at the School of Media and Communication.

I developed two artworks that continue the narrative of sensorial community engagement. The first work called Inaudible City is a large-scale projection of video sequences that portrays Melbourne’s familiar urban landscape.

The second, called Fractured_Message, is a portrait-style video of a young man who the viewer cannot properly understand due to a soundtrack of inaudible and distorted speech.

Both works explore the frustration and unease of a hearing impaired pedestrian struggling to make sense of auditory aspects encountered in today’s urban environment.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its art funding and advisory body.

The “Disconnections” documentary video has been posted: https://vimeo.com/channels/115324

It shows participant engagement with the interactive artworks: “Inaudible City” and “Fractured_Message” at the exhibition opening on Thursday 9th April 2015 @ the HEARing CRC, Carlton.

Professor Paolini demonstrates the use of the Eye-Tracker computer programme in the Sensory Laboratory