resting up is an interdisciplinary group of chronically ill and disabled friends practising slowness/crip time to create, think, and interrupt neoliberal pressures and expectations on the body.
We’re sick, tired, and slow. We move under crip time and reject notions that productivity defines our value. When we check our schedules, we do so knowing that “crip time bends the clock to meet disabled bodies and minds” (Kafer). That our lives are not linear and sit outside normativity, beyond neoliberal trappings of the 9 to 5 and focus on self-improvement.
Frankly, we don’t like work. We see compressed time slots of wage labour and recognise that they are seldom optional. In these normative trappings, we don’t want to have to prove our sickness or weigh up how ill we’re feeling to justify a day off. This collective rejects the need to perform illness to the medical sphere, making space for all of our lived experiences and bodily narratives.
We are working towards a future we desire and each have a hand in crafting. A mindset that accepts the bed as a creative and political site. A future that won’t demand “have you got capacity?” and will accept no for an answer. A world that allows for joy and pleasure seeking, and prioritises this over unsustainable labour demands.
We believe in the strength of a group, of mutual aid, and care in every form. While we would be foolish to believe this project will change the world, we lean into it as a place to make art that is reactive and reflective of collective, local struggle. Here is a place to make mistakes, to craft new theories of disability and chronic illness, to do things that support each other and make us feel.
Within our collective, there are artists, writers, feminists, queers, those with visible and invisible illnesses, students, workers, and more. We joined together out of shared interests and our individual work that illustrates what it is to live with chronic illness and disability. Several of us are white, cis-gendered and university-educated, tensions we grapple with in our meetings and the work we produce. While we recognise the limitations of such perspectives and these labels, we use them as organisational tools and welcome everyone who wants to join us.
We know that time is a precious commodity. Though we prioritise slowness, we recognise this is at odds with the wider status quo. This collective is a minimal commitment that we dedicate time to as and when we can. While we want to create art (over doing the work we’re paid for), our energies don’t always stretch that far. This collective offers a place for that - the pieces that are half-finished, fragmentary ideas, or need more hands to make real.
Our principles are:
To make work for and of the chronically ill and disabled communities of which we are part. This project is outwardly focused and seeks to represent and reflect the experiences of many chronically ill and disabled folx. Should it ever lean towards navel-gazing, we will resteer it or abandon it.
We want to make and take up space. This collective wants to find and fill gaps where people can craft and experiment with art - whatever that looks like. The work we make may be ‘bad’, unfinished, or without ‘use’, as so many things worth doing often are, and we will happily occupy all these outcomes.
We could mess up. No one is perfect. But if we do make something misguided or blunder, we will hold each other accountable using processes based on transformative justice to avoid reproducing the same mistakes or harms.
We are forever growing and changing. Our work is not stuck, however slow. We will keep records of our practice and impromptu conversations. This will help us reflect and grow as our work does too.
We want to rest, recognising that this is a multifaceted term. We see rest as political engagement, self-preservation (as in Lorde’s approach), not thinking or doing, and, above all, essential.
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In November 2021 I presented a video essay in a scratch form on 'Resisting the "sick" through self-portraits' for Resting Up Collective and hosted by the remote body. Although I will upload the entire video essay when it is in a polished state, you can catch up on what I presented. Watch it here: Resting Up Collective talk