Exhibited beyond a red rope barrier, a woman lies in her bed for 30 hours
At Edinburgh Fringe Festival and on Twitter
9 – 10 August 2013
Bedding Out is a 30-hour performance by artist-activist Liz Crow that has emerged from the current welfare benefits overhaul that threatens many with poverty. A propagandist campaign that has seen a doubling in disability hate crime.
At set times on both days members of the public are invited to Bedside Conversations, gathering round the bed to talk about the work, its backdrop and its politics. For those who cannot visit the work in person, there will be two twitter-based conversations.
‘Bedding Outis a performance in which I take my private self and make it public, something I have not done in over 30 years’ says Liz Crow. ‘In a gallery, over a period of two 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 myself. 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.’
Bedding Outhas previously been performed at SPILL festival and Salisbury Arts Centre where the piece was set over 48 hours. A live feed was viewed by nearly 10,000 people in over 50 countries, generating interest and debate about changes to the benefits system.
Bedding Out at Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Friday 9 – Saturday 10 August, starts 10.00am
At Hunt & Darton Cafe (Venue 172), 17-21 St Mary’s Street, EH1 1SU
Wheelchair accessible venue, with accessible loo
Follow @RGPLizCrow and use the #beddingout hashtag throughout the 30 hours. Join our Twitter-based Bedside Conversations on Friday 9.00pm, Saturday noon.
Members of the public gather round the bed to talk about the work, it’s background and its politics.
A 48-hour around-the-clock live performance
Part of the People Like You exhibition
Salisbury Arts Centre & via social media
10 – 12 April 2013, starting 2.00pm
Reflections from the Bed – recorded at SPILL Festival of Performance Nov 2012
The work, its backdrop, and its politics
Free entry. Duration 40 minutes. With BSL interpretation and live captioning.
Watch online here.
Wed 10 Apr – 2.00pm and 6.00pm Online and Salisbury Arts Centre
Thu 11 Apr – 12.00pm (Twitter) and 3.15pm Online and Salisbury Arts Centre
Fri 12 Apr – 10.15am Online and Salisbury Arts Centre
To attend Bedside Conversations in person, members of the public can sign up at the Salisbury Arts Centre website or phone 01722 321744
BEDDING OUT emerges from the current welfare benefits overhaul, which threatens many with poverty and a propagandist campaign that has seen disability hate crime leap by 50%.
“I wear a public self that is energetic, dynamic and happening,” explains artist-activist Liz Crow. “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, this 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 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 OUT is a performance in which I take my private self and make it public, something I have not done in over 30 years. On this stage, for a period of 48 hours, I am performing 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 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.
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.
Disabled people: the first to go. Understand why & how to prevent the current backslide which threatens all groups who are discriminated against. RESISTANCE: a crucial & inspirational exhibition in Manchester til 3 Know this history to help fight current misinformation and hatred centered around the same ideals, spreading the idea that disabled people are unworthy and our state cannot afford us. Very similar propaganda is how the holocaust began – allowing it to happen led to the deaths of millions of other people too.Liz Crow tells us how the resistance of disabled people and our allies was central to bringing this to an end, as it still is now.
RESISTANCE ON TOUR
I had the opportunity on Friday to visit and participate on a panel discussion at Liz Crow’s hard hitting and inspirational installation “Resistance” which I believe to be one of the most important projects about disabled people I have ever seen. It covers some of the hardest issues to cover in a radical and sensitive way and leaves people thinking about what we can all do to make sure nothing like a holocaust ever happens again. I found the discussion very inspiring and learned lots from the other (frankly, awesome) participants.
Then I finally went to see the installation RESISTANCE, which I have been waiting to see for years now, featuring some of my very favourite actors such as Jamie Beddard, Lindsay Carter, Mat Fraser and Ali Briggs.
It left me breathless.
I watched half of it with my head dropped in defeat on my friend Becca’s arm, soaking her sleeve. I felt grief stricken and angry. I felt euphoric seeing some fight back.
I felt confused at seeing highly skilled kickboxer Mat Fraser getting shoved into the death bus.. nothing like the man we know, no kicks in the face to his assailant, just the fear and confusion our people faced before the fightback started, before they knew what was happening. I wanted to scream KICK HIM MATT!
It sounds like I am mentioning this through frivolity but this is a perfect example of how people capable of so much more were institutionalised unwittingly slaughtered like lambs when taken for a ‘day out’. (If someone tried and do this to the real Matt.. I don’t think they’d live long..)
I felt afraid at how current beliefs are now so very close to the beliefs which led to the deaths of almost all identifiable disabled people in Germany, not so very long ago. I felt overwhelmed that the public accepted this and that their acceptance of such hatred against disabled people then also led to the deaths of millions of Jewish people, LGBT people, Roma people and others.
I felt determined I would continue to fight and advocate for our equal right to exist. My brain was exploding with the question WHAT MUST WE DO? What can I do that I am not already doing?
The first thing I’m doing is talking about Liz Crow’s installation and I am asking you come and experience it and / or to tell others about it too – share this blog, blog about it yourself, tell other people, ask people to support us in our current fight against fatal prejudices.
The fundamental MODERN belief that disabled peoples’ lives are of different value to others underpins ALL the prejudice we currently face – especially the dehumanisation we currently face in some areas of media and public opinion.The same beliefs which led to the holocaust now lead to cuts against every service which affects our lives, including those which keep us alive, hatred, attacks and murders, leaving disabled people destitute, locking 340,000 people in institutions in the UK, the killings of unborn disabled babies any time until birth, the do not resucitate procedures and withdrawal of treatment from disabled people of all ages, and the focus on ‘helping’ us to die by setting up special death centres to administer lethal drugs (‘assisted suicide’ centres).
Liz’s project is a crucial installation for all of us to see, disabled people and everyone else. Not just because it exposes our hidden history which is ignored by so many (because they just don’t mind) but because it also draws attention to how current government propaganda is leaning very close to that which was spread before the killing started. And most of all because Liz tells us how disabled people began to resist, inspiring us all to resist, continue to resist and resist harder.
Many people do not realise the Nazi holoucaust began with the extermination of disabled people and having perfected techniques of mass killing on our people, the Nazis went on to exterminate millions of Jewish people, travellers and queers. Disabled people were the testing ground – would the methods work? Would the public accept the annihilation of their fellow citizens? The answer was yes and then the creep began, into every community the Nazis believed did not fit their ideal of humanity.
This part of history must never be forgotten so we never allow it to happen again and Liz Crow questions what we will ALL do to make sure it does not.
It is crucial to understand disabled peoples’ history to understand how we got where we are today. It is esential to recognise that the politics of the past continues to affect contemporary strategies – which, having thrived uninterrupted are now on a steep increase in these ‘Times of Austerity’ – while government is intent on convincing the population that disabled people are a burden on the other citizens of this country which we cannot afford and we are worth less than others.
I reaffirm my foundational belief that while our lives continue to carry unequal status to the lives of others, most importantly our very right to exist in the first place and to continue to exist, we remain at great risk and the symptomatic discrimination we face is to be expected.
We must fight back on those core beliefs and not shy away from them as so many do, we do have a right to fight these beliefs, to fight for our very lives, to encourage disabled people, our families and our allies to fight back and to never ever stop. Not even just a right – we have a responsibility.
Please support Liz’s installation by visiting it during it’s time in Manchester at Zion Arts in Hulme. Please share this blog. Please talk about the issues it raises. Please keep fighting deadly prejudice.