Fia Backström is included in the group exhibition, Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capitalism's Temporal Bullying, at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, Nebraska, March 22–June 2, 2018
Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capitalism’s Temporal Bullying focuses on how the body is articulated in various discourses around health. (Note: “Crip” is a political reclaiming of the derogatory label “cripple.”) The artists in this exhibition, through artworks and practices with care-focused groups, examine how support for the body in states of illness, rest, and disability (particularly in relation to the time they operate on) can prompt us to re-imagine collective forms of existence as life under capitalism becomes impossible. Dragging on and circling back, with no regard for the stricture of the workweek or compulsory able-bodiedness, the time that this curatorial project investigates is non-compliant. It refuses a fantasy of normalcy measured by in-or-out thresholds and demands care that exceeds what nuclear families can provide.
Whether or not we currently identify as sick, we are united by the fact that we all experience fluctuating states of debility throughout our lives. In the United States, many of us are exhausted from living and working in a capitalist system rife with insufficient and deteriorating infrastructures for care. Being mindful of the fact that these failures of public health and biomedicine are felt by some disproportionately more than others (due to race, class, gender, sexuality, etc.), Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capitalism’s Temporal Bullying provides a platform for exploring collective forms of healing the way these traumas are held in the body and dealing with these structural processes of exclusion. To this end, artworks dealing with care, illness, fitness, sleep, somatic sustainability, labor, alternative temporalities, and wellness culture are on view within an exhibition on life/work balance that provides a locus for ongoing conversations about relief and potential repair.
Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capitalism’s Temporal Bullying is a process-based show; many of the artworks will directly demonstrate what living and working on sick time demands of the body and of the artists and organizers themselves. While there is an opening event, there will also be a closing reception—a new start, to mark a different sense of time that we will negotiate together.
Fia Backström’s A fluid orthographic plane, based in the movements of hands and eyes, 2016, points to the use of fluid language planes (such as smartphones or tablets) that allow us to communicate through bodily gestures at a moment when technological surfaces increasingly register both human and environmental forces. In an installation that plays with the creation of a temporary after-image on viewers retinas and draws from the history of using negative images in medical and scientific photography, Backström calls our attention to what often goes unseen and prompts us to consider the oscillating line between the self and other, and the self and material.