BEDDING OUT: Performance artist Liz Crow shows hidden life with an invisible illness


BEDDING OUT is Liz Crows latest performance piece to be shown at Salisbury Art Centre. Liz Crow is going to live in the gallery space for 48 hours to show how her illness affects her private life.

In an interview with The Guardian Liz Crow says, "For about 30 years, I've been aware that I operate in two starkly different modes," she says. "One is public, where I try and come across as energetic and animated and engaged and good at what I do. It's a way of being that's approved of socially. But what people don't see is the other side, where I spend most of my time at home, a great deal of it lying down in my bed. That's in order to prepare for the public thing, and to recover from it. I've always kept that hidden because it feels dangerous to make it public. It feels like I'd be misinterpreted and people won't see me as the whole person that I am."

I know I certainly can really relate to this sentiment. People with illness strive so hard for normality than we sometime forget to knowledge the struggles we face privately. Hiding the pain, suffering or discomfort we go through works well as we condcut our lives as individuals. Hiding these uncomfortable elements of our lives helps our self esteem, we don't have to face other peoples anxieties. We assume people won't see us as "whole".

On a larger scale however I believe societies current apathy towards people with serious chronic illnesses is somewhat due to the fact that so much of the chronically ill's lives are conducted in private. People have lost the imagination to relate to the chronically ill's lives and we do not remind them enough of the isolation and pain which goes with having a chronic illness.

I think further discussion needs to be had about Liz Crows life. She says she spends a great deal of time lying in bed at home. It is at this point where people will say that they'd love to lie in bed all day. Its very easy to not understand fully the impact of a life mainly lived in bed and why it is unacceptable.

It is a poor standard of life to not be able to participate in society. This is not only joining in with culture but they can not contribute anything either. I wonder how many volunteer organisations rely on people with chronic health problems? The longer that people are subject to a life cut off from their outside world an under class is born out of people who did have something to contribute, who wanted to contribute but they did not have the means to do so.

And I wonder why it is that Liz Crow spends so much of her time in bed? Could she get out more if she was given more help? Surely is our responsibility to ensure that everyone has a decent quality of life no matter what their illness.

Margate, United Kingdom
Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013