Horizontal Living – Cover (2021)

Audio Description

Watercolour on Paper
Limited Edition Print Run of 10
A3 Size (x2)


Curator’s Notes

‘Horizontal Living’ by Asphyxia is a darkly humorous piece, relatively direct in its activism for human rights for people with disabilities. The alteration to the iconic Penguin Book cover – a comforting piece of home paraphernalia we all know and love – to illustrate a deep and richly complex part of the difficulties we face as artists with disabilities that may have us bedridden for some or all of our lives, brings warmth, comfort and familiarity to the concept. It brings humour, friendliness to a topic that is bound to upset all, whether they have faced it or not.

 It is a well worn book. Use of watercolour makes friendly, like a picture book, specially with the friendly penguin icon. They make me want to give them a little cuddle.

The contents page is a deeper dive into the dark humour of part one of this artwork. Anyone who has experienced said horizontal living for any extended amount of time, can recognise and relate to each page of the contents. The amount of pages each section takes to relate, only adds to the humour! The folded page corners, the riffled pages, the possible food stains along the bottom of the book…all hilariously familiar. And yet…

 If you can’t laugh, you’ll cry. Laughing is a way into this topic. A way we can bring laypersons into our experience enough so they will hear our stories instead of blocking them out like so many lepers colonised onto isolated islands of “the disabled”. The “Other”.

 Each chapter title is a laugh as well as a question. How DOES one design a kitchen for the horizontal?! If lying down is the new heroin, why don’t I ever feel the high? Oh god, the uptick in mansplaining! LOL!!!! Only those who know, know. Only those who go through it will admit it. And that laugh of recognition…that YES of understanding…it is CRUCIAL to us. It is LIFESAVING to hear others say we aren’t crazy, that YES this is all happening, and YES it seems just as ridiculous to other “horizontal” people as it does to us. It makes me wonder if the sequel to this book will include chapters on coconut oil enemas, exercising with vegetable weights, and manuka honey injections. Surely those will cure our horizontalitis? Or perhaps just a positive attitude? A smile could cure any ill. If looks could kill!