Bedding In is part of Disability Arts Online’s Diverse Perspectives project, which is funded by Arts Council England, and is commissioning eight disabled artists to make new artwork that “sparks conversations and debate about the creative case for diversity”.
Bedding In takes place at the Ipswich Art School Gallery from 1-3 November, from 11am to 6pm, as part of the SPILL Festival of Performance in Ipswich.
Bedding In emerges from the current welfare benefits overhaul, which threatens many with poverty and with a propagandist campaign that has seen disability hate crime leap by 50%.
Says artist-activist Liz Crow, “I wear a public self that is energetic, dynamic and happening. I am also ill and spend much of life in bed. The private self is neither beautiful nor grownup, it does not win friends or accolades, and I conceal it carefully.
“But for me, along with thousands more, the new system of benefits demands a reversal: my public self implies I don’t need support and must be denied, whilst my private self must be paraded as justification for the state’s support.
“For some months, I have lain low for fear of being penalised, but the performer is beginning to re-emerge; instead of letting fear determine who I am, I’d rather stare it in the face.”
“Bedding In is a performance in which I take my private self and make it public, something I have not done in over 30 years. It feels dangerous exposed exciting. In a gallery, over a period of three days, I will perform the other side of my fractured self, my bed-life. Since the public me is so carefully constructed, this will be a kind of un-performing of my self.
“I want to make a twilight existence visible. But more, I want to show that what many people see as contradiction, what they call fraud, is only the complexity of real life. This is not a work of tragedy, but of in/visibility and complication; a chance to perform my self without façade.
Each day, members of the public will be invited to Bedside Conversations, gathering round the bed or perching upon it to talk about the work, its backdrop, its politics.
Read also John Pring’s article