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Monday, April 5, 2021

This World Makes Us Sick


As part of their residency at the ICA, bare minimum presents THIS WORLD MAKES US SICK, a series of talks, workshops, screenings, and performances about illness, work, care, love and doing nothing.

If one of us is sick, we are all sick. The history of illness has never just been plagues and the invention of penicillin. It is a history of disparate access to care. It is a history of devastation, a history of violence via colonial experimentation and the organisation of societies that continue to infect us. When we say this world makes us sick, we mean that it is organised by capitalist logics that produce precarity, instability of relation and unlivable conditions. We mean that the big polluters give us cancer, the carceral state sections us, pharmaceutical companies drive up the price of life saving drugs. The state abandons us when the virus begins to circulate. We say fuck the medical model and the algorithmic diagnositics it uses to pathologise us. Our bodies are not the problem. By poking holes in the medical model, we propose a methodology for being sick and keeping each other alive.

The bare minimum collective is an interdisciplinary anti-work arts collective.

The bare minimum collective believes in doing nothing or at the very least, as little as is required of us. We work smart, not hard. We’re a bunch last minuters, a ‘can I copy your answers?’, ‘send me your notes’ and ‘did you do the reading?’ kind of collective. Some of us did the reading in earnest, but can’t quite put pen to paper. We hate work – the drudgery of wage labour, the grind, the side hustle, the neoliberal requirement for self-improvement.

(This manifesto was written when the writer should have been working)

We get how common this line of thinking is, how edgy it is to reject the given and we’ve decided to come together anyway. Like we said, we’re lazy. We want the world to be organised in a different way. We recognise that ending capitalism will not be a disappearing act (Lewis); work will still exist, just not in the way we know it now. We strive for that which has yet to be realised, Art for Art’s Sake in a world where none of us are subjected to premature death. We want space for pleasure. We want the abolition of everything but care, mutual aid and community.

We believe in wotlessness. To be wotless is to be directionless, wayward (a la Hartman), jobless ... to not really want to be anything. We’re not interested in what will come of this. Maybe it will fail, we welcome failure! Call it a reaction to the boomers, a result of the financial crash, precarity, insecure housing but every dream of stability has been shattered and we think that offers us something. We want a space to hold each other accountable creatively, to grow in our respective artistries, to archive as it happens, to share our political and artistic growth with anyone who will listen and to work towards a world of something else.

Amongst us are: black feminists, reluctant writers, artists, queer theorists, film-makers, architects, someone who understands the internet better than lil’ Nas X. We’re working across mediums with no regard for disciplinary boundaries. We want you to know that we are friends, we love and carry each other and that is what has brought us here. Many of us are disabled: in some moments we run on the same ADD frequency, collectively hyperfocusing our imagined futures into being; in others, we are forced to retreat to our beds. Some of us are poor, some of us are not.

We want you to know that we are very very gay, but not in that LGBTQ+ way. We stand with and for lazy girls, queens, dykes, fairies, high femmes, trans hunnys, intersex angels, big faggots, butches, non-binary babes, anyone whose existence messes with how the world is supposed to be. We reject heterosexuality, hetero and homonormativity and every false promise they offer. Any alien or freak or cyborg is our kin.

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