2010 Bed-in at the Bluecoat

As part of The Bluecoat’s bed-in for peace, this work proposes a world in which people can move freely across borders.

Like John & Yoko’s original action, the idea is easily dismissed as impractical or naïve. However there are many examples of a naïve idea becoming mainstream. Imagine a conversation in 1860;

A “Women having the vote! Impossible! Half of them can’t read. How would they know what they were voting for?”

B (feigning delight at A’s reasoning) “Good idea. As well as the electoral system, we have to change the education system - and maybe some other things too.”

So (to echo our imaginary interlocutor) as well as imagining a world in which people can move freely across borders, we also need to talk about the changes that would make such a world possible.


I am in the bed in striped pyjamas, as in John and Yoko’s bed-in. Another pair of pyjamas lies on a pillow. That side of the bed is empty. At times its emptiness serves to illustrate that many people who try to come to this country are prevented from doing so. It is the also a warm soft space visitors can slip into to chat with me. The bed and its pillows positions our faces close together, encouraging conversations to be intimate.

As a starting point for discussion, I have some bedside ‘reading’ to share. This is Leave Blank - Patricia Azevedo’s and my collection of immigration forms with the words taken away, the removal of language suggesting a dream of the right to cross national boundaries without restraint. This erasure (of questions asked to decide where individuals are allowed to be) opens up a space for new words; perhaps new questions about the assumptions and implications contained in the immigration forms’ original questions.

See 2008 – ongoing Leave Blank