Liad Hussein Kantorowicz is a performance artist, film-maker and self-declared Pussy Terrorist. Her film and theatre work challenges notions of ‘good’ feminine behaviour and political belonging. During the pandemic, she has been disabled by incapacitating pain that has continued, on and off. Mainstream Western culture celebrates the idea of moving on, but Liad, like those dealing with long Covid or chronic conditions that have been sidelined as hospitals struggle to cope, has not been able to do so. Instead, as her condition returned, we asked her to share a photo diary around her illness and treatment. We asked her to consider whether there been moments of sickbed joy that she’d choose to hold onto?
Between late October and early January I was physically challenged. I had a condition that couldn’t be diagnosed but that included in inflammation of the nerves, muscles and upper back. I had a maximum of two hours per day of being able to sit, stand or walk. The rest of the time I was confined to lying down. I was at a hospital for 10 days. As a body-based artist, I was afraid to lose the one thing I have to work with – my body. There is always a constant question, particularly on social media, of how much to externalize the vulnerable elements of what I’m going through, and when does it just make people associate me solely with illness. I can’t say that I found pleasure in any of this, but the pictures here capture moments of joy that I decided to hang on to: trying to be sexy with a mask that hides my neck brace, or capturing my hospital bed view or the hospital breakfast with middle eastern condiments I brought from home, to being the only person in the city with access to the pool in the hospital as pools were closed due to corona, to making fun of my neck collar by comparing it to animal costumes in halloween.
Liad Hussein Kantorowicz