Oct 292012

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.

From http://www.roaring-girl.com/productions/bedding-in/

In bed

 Bedding In

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



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  4 Responses to “Bedding In: Liz Crow makes her “twilight existence visible” at the Ipswich Art School Gallery 1-3 November”

  1. Thanks so much for your comments. I’m hoping the work can make visible some of the everyday complexity of our lives (rather than the two-dimensional version that’s in much of the press), but also to show how unfit for purpose the current benefits system is for categorising our eligibility for assistance. I’d welcome any help to get the word out – and your support: RGPLIzCrow / #BeddingIn /. Best wishes to all.

  2. Hi Liz,

    Your article highlights the duality of a chronic or serious illness. Some days are better than others and when they are you can do a little rather than be confined to bed or endure the usual paralysing effects of ill health, ie being unable to lead some kind of normal life, what the able bodied take for granted.

    The public self is what people see of you through your art or writings, for others that are ill it’s the opinions amongst people in your own community that see you from time to time.

    “Oh, (s)he looks alright,” “(s)he looks well” etc.

    How many times have you heard someone make a similar exclamation on the news of a friends death or someone you know “I only saw them last week, they looked really well, healthy, etc. As if how you look on the outside is somehow related to the inner workings of the body and pain. I know that is an extreme example but it is necessary for people to understand. The inner self, private self is that time when no one sees you in bed writhing in pain or unable to move or do anything because you feel so worn out and the energy level = zero This is the real you that people are unwilling to acknowledge, the dark side, that scary side of life that could happen to them. The isolation of being alone behind four walls and trying to cope with the mental anguish and physical debilitation that pain evokes. The part of you that people wish to deny exists. It is a disgrace that the media has sought to ignore that it is a minority that defraud the welfare system but conveniently forget that minority is perhaps less than the abuse MP’s were guilty of during the expenses scandal. How long was that going on for? before they were found out. It’s alright for large companies like Vodaphone and Starbucks to avoid paying millions of pounds in tax. The current system lets them away, meanwhile sick and disabled people have to PROVE they are ill Because of the distance and poor health I endure I will be unable to attend what seems to be an extremely brave and courageous work. I wish you well with your venture and hope it will open the eyes of those fortunate to be unaffected by ill health and give them some empathy and understanding. Regards, j

  3. As somebody who lives that twilight existence all the time, I’m excited to hear that you are showing the public exactly what our lives can be, and are like.
    I spent 99% of my life in bed, and it can be a very isolating, lonely and, at times, despairing kind of existence – so I wish you all the best with your project, and hope it really will bring the awareness we all need to the general public 🙂

  4. Brilliant article; all links are worth a read!! They can trample all over us, but not crush our Spirit.

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