Bedding Out represents one of the most diverse creative challenges CoQuo has represented, providing project management and art direction for a campaign to raise awareness of the plight caused by the current welfare benefits overhaul in the UK. Collaborating with disability artist-activist Liz Crow, the project saw us manage a 48-hour round-the-clock live stream of a live performance, which saw her take to her bed over the course of a two-day period, as well as providing web design, project management and overall general art direction.
Centralising the management of Bedding Out allowed for the performer, Liz, to concentrate on the content of the 48 hour period in the run up to the start. It was critical that the most up to date facts and figures were at Liz's disposal and that she was rested and relaxed before taking to the stage.
The website acted as the central portal for information, the video feed, live captioning, twitter feed, advice, support and blog, placing all the resources in an accessible web format. Post-performance, the site was altered to provide videos of the conversations and some of the imagery captured from the performance.
An integral element of the performance was to place the private life of the artist into the public domain. Live streaming provided access to those who could not see the performance in person as well as access throughout the 48 hour period when the venue was closed to the public.
Roaring Girl Productions place accessibility very highly on the priority list. A broad range of requirements were identified to ensure a positive experience for the varied audience. A major aim of this production was to explore how to improve accessibility in regards to impairments and the subject matter utilising technology. Each solution was tailored to the performance in a fine balancing act which was recognised with a commendation for innovation at the JODI awards in November 2013.
Giving Bedding Out a brand Identity assists in recognition of the various support materials for the performance. The design was clean yet defined. Physical print media included an information plaque and information sheet available in regular and large print format.
One of the elements of the installation phase of Bedding Out required the production of a representation of the Bed to be used. Several options were considered with the final solution being an overhead composite photograph of the bed printed at high resolution on a large scale piece of a hard wearing linoleum.
Bedding Out attracted press interest in the run up to and during the performance. Interest from the BBC and Guardian resulted in televised, printed, radio and online coverage and interviews, with a combination of journalists, editors and picture editors kept informed and supplied with resources promptly on request.
Press photography was managed in house to control how the performance was portrayed. Notable publication came in the form of online and printed formats in The Guardian: G2. Documentation photography was also undertaken during the performance for the benefit of archival purposes.
Social Media Strategy
Interaction with the performance was important to both inform and give a voice to the audience. Active conversation immerses the audience in a way that passive performance can not. Utilising Twitter as the main communication channel as well as specific Twitter only conversation times allowed the international audience to discuss the work, the politics and their feelings.
With direction for Roaring Girl Productions, we undertook the design and construction of the staging area. Considerations for lighting, camera positioning, accessibility and security informed the decision making process but the most critical element was how the environment worked aesthetically with the performance.
Internet connectivity was of crucial importance during Bedding Out. Integral features of the piece such as the live streaming and twitter interactions required a stable connection. A dedicated connection was installed providing high upstream bandwidth to provide the best quality video stream possible. Backup systems were also put in place in the event of a technical fault, though these were not required during the performance.
The performance was staged in a public space and as such the feeling of risk for the performer Liz needed to be accounted for. The performance, by its very nature, placed Liz in a vulnerable position. Protection was provided at close quarters but without being visible so as not to reduce access to the piece.