Bedding In Bedding Out
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Exhibited beyond a red rope barrier, a woman lies in her bed.
Bedding In Bedding Out 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 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. 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.
At an earlier version of this performance, we contacted by several individuals delighted that the work was helping make them more visible, but unable to attend because of their own bed-lives. In response, Bedding Out is using social media to involve absent people virtually. See Show Times for how to get involved.
Bedding In Bedding Out has been commissioned as part of Disability Arts Online’s Diverse Perspectives project (www.disabilityartsonline.org.uk) which is commissioning eight disabled artists across the UK to make a new artwork. Working closely with host organisations, artists will produce work that sparks conversations and debate about the Creative Case for Diversity.