Motion Disabled : Unlimited

Simon McKeown (Photographer)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


Motion Disabled is a digital exploration of the bodies - the biological pathologies - of people who are physically different. The work makes use of motion capture, a technique more commonly associated with feature films and computer games, along with 3D animation to create a kinetic connection with the human form - beautiful everyday movements highlighting all the intricacies and uniqueness of each person's physicality.

It was created by recording the physical movements of fourteen physically impaired people with conditions, such as Spina Bifida, Cerebral Palsy and Brittle Bones, who had their actions captured - their physical signatures in 3D digitised forever. Dr Paul Darke of Wolverhampton's Outside Centre was the first motion capture study. Following a ten-month production period, Motion Disabled was first exhibited in 2009 at Wolverhampton Art Gallery and has since gone on to be exhibited nationally in London, Leeds, Manchester and the Houses of Parliament as well as internationally in South Korea, Argentina, Saudi Arabia and other locations including the prestigious Smithsonian International Gallery - Washington D.C. USA, in an exhibition organised by VSA, where it was viewed by over 700,000 visitors over three months.

Motion Disabled was exhibited simultaneously and globally in 17 countries and 25 locations on the 3rd of December 2010. Promoted by VSA of Washington D.C. USA and DadaFest International the events were seen by many thousands of people as well as being covered by news media including the BBC. Mckeown was named Artist of Year by DaDaFest International 2010.

In 2013 Motion Disabled was presented at DOX Centre for Contemporary Art which is located in Prague in the Czech Republic featuring in the groundbreaking exhibition, Disabled by Normality, which attempted to reveal and problematise the terms normality and disability in the manner in which our notions of them affect the lives of all of us.

In 2018 Motion Disabled was showcased at the UK Governments Great Exhibition of the North, in Newcastle upon Tyne alongside other northern artists including David Hockney and Damien Hirst.

Originally supported by The Wellcome Trust, Arts Council England and Teesside University - Motion Disabled continues to grow and be exhibited exponentially.

In 2012, McKeown was commissioned by Unlimited as part of London 2012 Festival to extend Motion Disabled through the inclusion and motion capture of Paralympians. The resulting work Motion Disabled: Unlimited toured the UK and became an exhibition feature at many of the Olympic torch events across the nation.

The 2012 impression studies the body and movement of some of the UK’s most famous Paralympians. Viewers are given a chance to watch and study the physicality and movement of the modern-day disabled athlete, the Paralympian. What is it like to walk and jump without legs, or to sail with one arm? Permission to view is granted; cultural identity removed; disabled avatars move.

The work continues to explore McKeown's interest in normality and difference and is made up of three distinct sections in addition to the website. A large inflatable sculpture forms the core part of the exhibition. Cold air-filled, this sculpture was placed in cities and events during 2012 at various locations globally. In addition, a new series of motion-based artworks featuring the Paralympians were created. An iPhone based Augmented Reality (AR) application linked everything together introducing viewers to the exhibition, and its concepts using high tech but accessible methods. Paralympic athletes directed by Mckeown had their motions captured at Pinewood Studios London.

The exhibition launched on July 9th 2012 in Oxford's Olympic Torch Relay celebration at South Park, in front of the events 20,000 sell-out audience. 

Please see below for further detail on where to see the exhibition:


Dresden - Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, October 2013 to June 2014Prague - Dox Centre for Contemporary Art, May - September 2013


Loughborough - Town Centre - 9th September 2012 West Cheshire College, Ellesmere Port Campus, West Cheshire - 5th to 8th September 2012South Bank Centre - South Bank, London - 3rd & 4th September 2012 Jubilee Gardens -  South Bank, London - 29th August to 2nd September 2012  Leicester - Orton Square and The Curve - 26th August 2012Edinburgh - Festival Square - 13th - 17th August 2012T4 On the Beach - Weston super Mare 1st July 2012 Middlesbrough - MIMA - Summer 2012Scunthorpe - 20-21 Visual Arts Centre - Summer 2012Oxford - South Park - July 9th 2012 

- See more at:

Original languageEnglish
Media of outputFilm
Publication statusPublished - 2012


Dive into the research topics of 'Motion Disabled : Unlimited'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this