Multidiscplinary artist Perel’s Pain Threshold takes its name from the measurement of pain doctors use to test patients. In this work, this term involves more than the threshold of physical pain. Engaging in questions of openness, vulnerability, control, consent, care, and intimacy, Pain Threshold invites the audience to bear witness to their own emotional and intellectual threshold. Perel’s research for the work began in the midst of receiving care in preparation for another performance. They asked: “What if this care was the performance?” Perel grew curious about the format of talk shows, and began to re-watch episodes of Oprah, Barbara Walters’s interview, and late-night shows. Perel decided their receptivity to care would make them the perfect show host. As Perel opens up their body, an audience member might be willing to open up emotionally: “So, if you can imagine a disabled, queer Barbara Walters you’ll get the picture . . .”
About This Site
A Picture of Health: Jo Spence, a Politics of Disability and Illness is a multi-pronged project curated by Kenny Fries and Elisabeth Frost.
In 1986 the British artist, educator, and activist Jo Spence (1934-1992) described the question fundamental to her work: “how to represent a body in crisis.” Spence’s work reveals powerful political and artistic responses to the experience of inhabiting such a body and is as timely as ever. This website places her work in the context of the lived experience of chronic illness and of contemporary Disability Arts.