The Bed Inn, 2018
Collaboration with Yong Soon Min.
An Installation for the 3RD Guangzhou Triennale, 2008, Guangdong Museum, China.
(click here for pdf)
To see video, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lRjgwUxPj8&feature=related
The best way to get rid of an enemy is to take him as a friend, in bed.
A warm smile is testimony of a generous nature in bed.
If you want the rainbow you must put up with the rain in bed.
The world may be your oyster, but it doesn’t mean you’ll get its pearl in bed.
He who laughs last is laughing at you in bed.
He who throws dirt is losing ground in bed.
Delay is the antidote for anger in bed.
Keep in close touch with what your competition is doing in bed.
Your skill will accomplish what the force of many cannot in bed.
A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind, and won’t change the subject in bed.
Do not mistake temptation for opportunity in bed.
A cynic is only a frustrated optimist in bed.
A woman who seeks to be equal with men lacks ambition in bed.
A scholar’s ink lasts longer than a martyr’s blood in bed.
It is much wiser to take advice than to give it in bed.
All your hard work will soon pay off in bed.
Ideas are like children; there are none so wonderful as your own in bed.
Love is like wildflowers; it is often found in the most unlikely places in bed.
In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, in bed.
The trouble with resisting temptation is that it may never come again in bed.
Society prepares the crime: the criminal commits the crime in bed.
Only love lets us see normal things in an extraordinary way in bed.
– Anon Embeds
In 1969, when John and Yoko announced their bed-ins, the media expected to be titillated by them having sex for public viewing. Imagine the media disappointment when all it got was a couple sitting in bed—”like Angels” (in John’s words)—and a lot of banter about peace. Nevertheless, the bed-in became iconic for that period of world-wide optimistic political foment, popular resistance and radical politics that has since come to represent a lost time of possibilities.
In this new variant, the Bed-Inn, a soundtrack of soothing voices invites viewers to participate by predicting their “fortunes in bed.” Based on a postprandial fortune cookie joke (to a pro-forma prediction that, for example, “you will find a hidden treasure,” one adds, “in bed”), this joke further distorts the already-orientalized cultural signifier of the fortune cookie, and perhaps this export from California to China––from its actual to its fictive site of origin––adds a trans-cultural twist to expectations of authenticity.
One exploration of both the promise and the failure of utopian change, and marking the end of its ‘60s idealism, is Michael Antonioni’s 1970 film, Zabriskie Point. The film opens with a student discussion of revolutionary action, from which the film’s anti-hero exits, declaring his boredom. Escaping to the desert in Death Valley––that archetypal landscape of a self-inventing America––we witness a sexual rebirth, but one that ultimately fails and disintegrates back into the earth. The film ends with yet another possible solution, but one weighted by its own futility: a desire to blow it all up and walk away. The Bed-Inn presents these scenes of gleeful destruction, replete with aphorisms of the day, as a curtained first option before allowing the viewer to part them and enter into the inner chamber.
Inside, the Bed–Inn is haunted by projections of bodies engaged in a variety of sex acts, appropriated from a mix of footage––from Zabriskie Point, to 1960’s “underground” films to contemporary internet porn. One manifestation of the “sexual revolution,” pornography was seen by its advocates as a utopian civil right, alongside free love and free speech. As a marker of the counter-culture, sex––like drugs and rock-n-roll––became an infiltrating liberator of the “uptight” bourgeoisie. Make Love, Not War, as the slogan declared. Here, in the Bed-Inn, a space of virtual activity awaits the insertion of the actual bodies of audience members. Like “reality” TV shows that parody “real life,” these new ‘bed-inners’ can momentarily experience a cultural memory of sexual representation, armchair-, or rather bed revolution audio-massaged with Confucian-cum-Oprahesque platitudes. For those suffering from revolutionary fatigue, sexual fatigue, art fatigue, or a deeper malaise, what could be more therapeutic?
Viva la revoluçion…in bed!
Click here to read an open letter Concerning Censorship at the 3RD Guangzhou Triennale