• Jamila Prowse - Spoons (After Carolyn Lazard), 2023
  • Jamila Prowse - Screenshot 2023-09-03 at 18.41.07
  • Jamila Prowse - Screenshot 2023-09-03 at 18.41.17
  • Jamila Prowse - Screenshot 2023-09-03 at 18.42.29
  • Jamila Prowse - Screenshot 2023-09-03 at 18.42.55
  • Jamila Prowse - Screenshot 2023-09-03 at 18.43.10
  • Jamila Prowse - Screenshot 2023-09-03 at 18.43.43

Spoons (After Carolyn Lazard), 2023

Spoons (After Carolyn Lazard), (2023) is a moving image work based upon Spoons Theory; which uses spoons as a visualisation of the disparity in energy reserves between disabled and abled people. Though a disabled and abled person will start the day with the same number of spoons, an abled person may only need 1 spoon to undertake an activity such as going to the shops, while a disabled person might use 4 spoons. In this way, disabled people deplete their spoons (or energy reserves) far quicker and thus have to be conscious about how they spend their spoons. Spoons theory has translated into a colloquialism within crip communities – “I’m out of spoons” or “I’m going to spend my spoons on you.”

On screen, spoons are papier-mâchéd in newspaper clippings related to COVID-19, as an acknowledgement of a new generation of people living with chronic illness and disability as a result of long-COVID. While Jamila covers the spoons, placing them down on the table, two hands begin to come and take them away, continually depleting Jamila's work. The act indicates the tireless additional labour involved in being disabled and how we are always running out of spoons/energy.

Over a 6 month period, Jamila exchanged voicenotes with three disabled artists – Leah Clements, Carolyn Lazard and Bella Milroy – about their personal relationships to spoons theory, which has then been turned into an original score using an algorithm by sound artist Felix Taylor. Thinking around voicenotes as a form of holding commune in crip communities, particularly for those who are bed or housebound.

The work is made in reference to Carolyn Lazard's 2018 moving image, Crip Time, and mirrors the same bird-eyes view shot of a table cloth. Crip Time acts as a visual and research touchstone; influencing an exploration of how energy and time manifest themselves within crip communities.

Fittingly, while making the work, the artist was continually out of spoons.

Commisioned through Sussex University's Full Stack Feminism project. This research/project was funded by UKRI-AHRC and the Irish Research Council under the ‘UK-Ireland Collaboration in the Digital Humanities Research Grants Call’ (grant numbers AH/W001667/1 and IRC/W001667/1).