BEDRID is an assembly-line for symbolic political engagement; a dark self-portrait of national depression and civic despair; breakfast in bed. Participants at a live event in LA outsource their most minimal activist labor—the signing of an online petition—to the Amazon crowdwork platform Mechanical Turk.
The event takes place over a weekend at Bed & Breakfast, an artist-run space run out of a gallerists’ bedroom. Visitors are admitted one-by-one from the general reception into B&B’s bedroom/exhibition space for a 20 min power nap accompanied by an assault of loud hardcore/metal music. Before climbing into bed, they fill out a form indicating their political preferences and record their signature on a tablet computer. While they’re resting, 100 petitions are signed in their name by workers on Mechanical Turk. Meanwhile, the PancakeBot 2.0 is used to print their signature in pancake batter, then served to them in bed with berries and whipped cream. A webcam is installed above the bed broadcasting a live-feed video of each participant in alternating cycles of nap and brunch.
I’m working with a series of musicians to create a fictional band called BEDRID and produce a 20 min EP. Lyrics are sourced from Amazon reviews of the pancake bot, comparative statistics of voter turnout, a depression subReddit called GetOutOfBed, among others. The EP will play once for each participant in bed, and will also be available on home-burned CD.
This project will exist equally in physical space and online: performing on mTurk; on petition sites like MoveOn.org, Daily Kos, DemandProgress.org, UltraViolet, and Roots Action; and on a central website that brings all the elements together. This site will include video/audio of Bedrid music (with subtitles), close ups of the pancake bot in action, the B&B live feed, and other relevant material (+Twitter history of the term “Protest is the New Brunch,” + screenshots of this slogan printed on t-shirts, mugs, golf towels…)
I’m currently shooting video with a local hardcore band at Banff, and have another song recorded called Ruined Birthday Surprise. Bed & Breakfast is on board to produce this weekend-long event in August.
BEDRID addresses the “Rigged System” with both rage and satire, but without providing any clear solutions. It is critical of American political apathy, while simultaneously acknowledging feelings of powerlessness that arise from a constant and overwhelming barrage of bad news. Because I’m limited by budget and timeline to provide a small number of these nap sessions, I’d be thrilled to extend the reach of this project online with help from Schlosspost.