Abi Palmer, 'Crip Casino', 2018

Abi Palmer, 'Crip Casino', 2018

Abi Palmer
Crip Casino

Part of Acts of Observation


25 Sep 2021 — 2 Jan 2022  


Acts of Observation was a group show by artists and writers Ana García Jácome, Jeda Pearl, Abi Palmer and Simon Yuill. The exhibition spanned our entire site and was presented as a series of solo presentations, or ‘acts’, throughout our different buildings, spaces, and online.

Dynamic in form and content, the artists brought together presented a diverse range of works including film, interactive installation, writing and architectural interventions. Acts of Observation directly questioned, contextualised and challenged how we negotiate institutional language and spaces, and how disability is represented. The participating artists articulated and politicised notions of recovery and offer visions of positive, inclusive futures.

Crip Casino invited viewers of all ages to jump in, reconsider their position in life, and how they landed there. On entry, an interactive installation greeted you, where hacked fruit machines offer absurdist poetic diagnoses and medical instructions, delivered by the spirit of ‘Dr Elvis’. This surreal game explored the way in which medicalised spaces make decisions about the patient’s body, and who has control over this process. Can you alter the outcome of your treatment or does the house always win?

The National Health Shrine, a slowly declining tin foil monumento, was crowded with ‘prizes’ - small alien shapes made from discarded objects. The objects remained static: a reminder of sick bodies held in limbo during the pandemic.

Assessment Booth #3 documented The Assessment - a performance game, designed in collaboration with artist Jackie Hagan. In the game, audience members queue for a series of 1:1 assessments. You may win, be interrogated, required to commit fraud, or be taxed unfairly.

Through parodying and critiquing the wellness industry and institutional spaces, Crip Casino invited us to consider how luck affects our health, privilege and capacities; What does it mean to ‘deserve’ care and wellbeing? What must we do to earn it?

Abi Palmer is an artist and writer based in London whose work explores the relationship between linguistic and physical communication. Abi’s work spans installation, film, performance and writing, her playful and absurd works delve into the serious state of disabled bodies’ treatment within society.


Simon Yuill
Jeda Pearl
Ana García Jácome