Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capitalism’s Temporal Bullying

Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capitalism’s Temporal Bullying

Red Bull Arts

View of The Waiting Room installation in Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time, Red Bull Arts Detroit, 2019. Photo: Clare Gatto. From left: Ava Ansari + Poetic Societies, Healing Machine, 2019. Cassie Thornton, Give me Cred!, 2013–. Wayne Curtis, Feed the People, 2013.*

October 11, 2019
Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capitalism’s Temporal Bullying
September 18–November 3, 2019
Opening: September 18
Closing: November 3
Red Bull Arts Detroit
Eastern Market
1551 Winder Street
Detroit, Michigan 48207
United States
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Red Bull Arts Detroit is pleased to present Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time: Against Capitalism’s Temporal Bullying, curated by Red Bull Arts Detroit’s inaugural Curatorial Fellow, Taraneh Fazeli. This exhibition on the politics of health and care is on view from September 18–November 3, 2019, with off-site activations taking place in the Spring of 2020 with a forthcoming accompanying book. (Note: “Crip” is a political reclaiming of the derogatory label “cripple” popularized by disability activists.)

Participating artists include Ava Ansari + Poetic Societies, Fia Backström, Black Power Naps (Navild Acosta & Fannie Sosa), Danilo Correale, Wayne Curtis, Jen Liu, Carolyn Lazard, Jordan Lord, Park McArthur, Sondra Perry, Katya Tepper, Cassie Thornton, Constantina Zavitsanos, and others to be announced. Exhibition partners include Detroit Disability Power, ProjectArt, RIP Medical Debt, and others.

This traveling site-specific exhibition and programming series leans on some of the very structures that play a part in making us sick, using their support to transform existing structures while also engaging in more radical networks of support outside of them. Engagements within counter the over-valorization of independence in US society and respond to how racialized global capitalism has produced debility in many populations while, at the same time, creating bureaucratic infrastructures that support very few people. To this end, artworks dealing with infrastructure, care, ancestral healing, illness, sleep, somatic sustainability, debt, dependency, alternative temporalities, fitness, and life/work balance are included within the exhibition. Programs will provide a locus for examinations into relief, resistance, and potential repair, while taking into account the many contradictions with seeking support and waging critique under capitalism.

“Whether or not you currently identify as sick, we all experience fluctuating states of health throughout our lives, with many of us exhausted from living and working in capitalist systems rife with insufficient and deteriorating infrastructures for care,” says Fazeli. “Even if you have never expected much from institutions and rely mostly on mutual aid to survive, chances are you still lean on some of the very forces that play a role in making us sick. This may include atrophying public institutions, privatized healthcare, or systems for redistributing wealth, such as philanthropic structures or corporate forays into art and culture. Mindful of the fact that failures in public health and biomedicine are felt by some disproportionately more than others (due to race, ethnicity, class, disability, gender, sexuality, etc.) and that the processes of colonization, displacement, and extraction have negatively impacted the health of generations of various populations, Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time is a platform for exploring collective forms of healing the way these traumas are produced and held in the body and environment.”

The project’s curatorial approach is motivated by ethics of care emerging from disability justice. Disability justice imparts how recognizing dependencies must be the basis of ethical human relations. While some people are more dependent than others due primarily to the manner in which societies and built environments are structured, we all are dependent on others during times in our lives. Complete autonomy is a fallacy often only afforded to the wealthy, who are actually dependent on those that made and keep them so.

When used in relation to disability, “access” often refers to the ability to enter a place, fully participate, and feel welcome. When working to make societal structures more accessible, conceptions of access are also inextricable from senses of belonging determined by other identity markers intertwined with disability. By understanding access (and exclusion) to be social and economic as well as physical, Fazeli asked Red Bull Arts Detroit to approach access not as a movement towards compliance via a checklist, but as an ongoing and interrogative relational process. 

The approach was dual-pronged: First, efforts are underway to support Red Bull Arts Detroit and other local organizations in becoming more accessible for people with disabilities, and others marked by processes of exclusion; Second, in order to better support creative work happening outside institutional structures and those who might not feel comfortable in “white cube” art spaces for many reasons, related programs will occur outside the organization’s confines in community spaces.

Partnerships with Detroit Disability Power and outside accessibility consultants—Ezra Benus, Dessa Cosma, and Ani Grigorian—were established to enable a process that was not led just by administrators, but also by disabled artists and activists. This process included an audit of Red Bull Arts Detroit’s physical infrastructure that resulted in phased improvements and intersectional anti-oppression training for its staff. It also resulted in the establishment of a “tool kit” of practices and assistive technologies that will be available for local cultural practitioners to borrow free of charge. More info on access at Red Bull Arts Detroit can be found here. 

It’s About Time
Participating artists examine how care for the body in states of illness, rest, and disability—particularly in relation to the time they operate on—prompts us to re-imagine forms of support. Dragging on and circling back, with no regard for the stricture of the workweek or compulsory able-bodiedness, the time that this project investigates is non-compliant. The process of making Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time and many of the artworks within demonstrates what types of flexible infrastructures are necessary to privilege holistic wellbeing and to respond to dialogues particular to site. 

Unfolding Over Time

October 18, 2019
: The exhibition’s accessibility consultants will lead a workshop for curators and non-profit administrators to share access resources and practices. Email info [​at​] to register. More information available here.

October 20, 2019: Benus will lead a descriptive tour with touch elements for non-visual learners. More information available here.

November 3, 2019: A closing reception will celebrate efforts that unfold throughout the course of the exhibition. Local artists will launch installations addressing what has occurred on/to the land which the exhibition takes place on that needs to be healed. This includes a coloring book on food justice by artist and ex-Black Panther Wayne Curtis, accompanied by an exhibition walkthrough by Fazeli.

November 17, 2019: As part of her ongoing project Give me Cred!, in partnership with ProjectArt artist Cassie Thornton will host sessions at the public library and elsewhere around Detroit for participants with “bad credit” to create alternative credit reports that help them in their search for healthcare, jobs, and/or housing. This will culminate in an event in which strategies of resistance against predatory debt are shared.

Spring 2020: Fazeli will host an offsite programming series, The Warp and Weft of Care, in which encounters such as listening investigations, movement exercises, the sharing of healing histories, and other programs occur in community spaces. 

For further updates on exhibition programs and offsite activations, visit:

Past iterations of Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time have been held at The Luminary (St. Louis, MO), Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (Omaha, NE), EFA Project Space (New York, NY), Lawndale Art Center and Project Row Houses (Houston, TX), as well as numerous social service organizations. 

*Descriptive caption for image above: View onto an institutional-looking room with light-green walls, black chairs in a row, a round clock on the wall, a water cooler, trash can, children’s toys, tables, a candy machine, and plants. There are several posters and magazine racks filled with publications hanging on the room’s walls.

Press contacts:
André Carlos Lenox, Account Executive, Cultural Counsel, andre [​at​]
Marcella Zimmermann, Vice President, Cultural Counsel, marcella [​at​]

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October 11, 2019

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