Introduction: This autumn, artist Raquel Meseguer Zafe invites you to take a moment to pause. To rest. To listen. Running at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum until 20 Oct, A Crash Course in Cloudspotting is an intimate audio journey, exploring the subversive act of lying down through stories from people living with invisible disabilities and chronic illnesses. Tickets are Pay What You Can. Find out more and book at https://coventry2021.co.uk/what-s-on/a-crash-course-in-cloudspotting/ Ahead of the show, on Sat 3 Oct, audiences were taken on a journey around the city with Unchartered Collective, learning more about the inspiration for the project, experiencing lying down in public spaces, and starting conversations towards making Coventry a restful city. Video by Jamie Gray.
Transcription: seeing the city um lying on the floor and didn't feel self-conscious so that was good yeah I could feel your tears running down my cheeks it was just something I had thought about in an individual basis um but not that there are other people um so I think it is just to highlight that Coventry should be offering resting place for people that we welcome everybody and anybody and you don't have to be upright you can be horizontal you're still part of whatever's going on I’ve lived with chronic pain for over a decade and that means that I need to lie down a lot my way out of my own personal lockdown was to begin to lie down in public I lay down on trains so I could go and visit my family I lay down in galleries and theatres so I could have art in my life again simple ordinary things we should all get to do today was all about issuing a challenge to Coventry to be the first restful city in the UK so with the support of grapevine and Coventry city of culture we designed this lying down provocation to lie down on mass in broad gate which is a place where lots of activism happens in Coventry and then we walk to the cathedral and we lay down in the cathedral and then we walk to Herbert art gallery and lay down there and we kind of use this this tool that grapevine use in there social advocacy which is a walk and talk but we made it a walk and talk and rest so in each location there were stories um about lived experience and my story about why I started to lie down in public and how I treated a security alert in 2016 by lying down on the sixth floor the south bank centre and at that time I was nine years into my chronic pain journey and I had had a time when my world got very small and I hadn't gone maybe beyond a mile of my house because of the need to rest and the fear that I might not be able to rest somewhere I know how passionate so many of you are about tackling discrimination and for disability rights and it is fantastic that you are campaigning for Coventry to be the first restful city in the UK I’d like to give special mention to Coventry youth activists who are a group of young people in Coventry fighting for young disabled people's rights special mention to joey Amanda Thomas Ramsey crash Patel Amanda Thomas Nathan gunton and Eli nate from the group my name is Sophie and I support Coventry youth activists from grapevine and I’m here with those activists today to support Coventry in becoming the UK’s first restful city today we met at broad gates and we invited members of the public to lie down on the floor alongside us first of all to create a provocation for the public but mostly for people to experience what it's like for people with disabilities or long-term health conditions who have to lie down and at the moment Coventry is not necessarily built for those people to be able to lie down and we hope that today's provocation raises some awareness sparks discussion and hopefully is the beginning of Coventry having resting spaces across the city where people can lie down when they need to we hope that today will spark businesses across Coventry to want to have resting spaces in their place so at grapevine we're going to be working on building connections with businesses in the centre so imagine coming into Coventry city centre going to your favourite cafe and there's a resting space there maybe a big bean bag where people can lie down and if that was in banks building societies shops cafes across the centre hopefully one day we'll normalize lying down when people need to rest and it will be throughout the city so as I was collecting stories about other people's attempts to rest in public and we they became um central to the installation we created that's called a crash course in cloud spotting and what we discovered is that um rest is more than there's a poetic aspect to rest that when you lie down somewhere you get a different view a different perspective of that space if you lie down with art for a long time you get a completely different experience of that and we discovered that it's it can be a site for storytelling and for theatre and something about asking people to rest as they listen I think for us created this real bridge of empathy between the uh the performer and the audience so we've discovered all these poetic aspects to rest that we're going to continue to explore as a team and part of the lying down provocation is about inviting people to experience that unusual view and to start thinking about how they can experience their city in a different way.