Banner image: Still from 'Call Me By Your DWP Number' (2019) Babeworld x Whinegums. Image courtesy of the artist.

Affiliation with Shape: Ellie contributed to the Shape Open 2020: The Future is Loading.

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Ellie Harman-Taylor, aka Whinegums, is a London-based artist, weaver, writer, and lecturer. Her practice navigates the experience of living with mental illness and disability. Ellie uses the metaphor of the body as a processing machine to explore how coping mechanisms can develop and aid survival in circumstances of marginalisation and suffering. Working with sculpture, video, performance, and comedy, Ellie’s work is frequently collaborative, including the lecture series, ‘Don’t Worry I’m Sick and Poor,’ which she co-created with Babeworld at the Royal College of Art, London.

About 'Call Me By Your DWP Number' (2019) which Whinegums contributed to The Future is Loading...

'Call Me By Your DWP Registration Number' (2019) is a collaboration between Babeworld and Whinegums. Visually referencing the classic coming of age movies of the 90s and 00s, this pink and dreamy world filled with objects (with the occasional tacky zoom-in) satirically romanticises the parts about living with a disability that are often vilified: using weed as a form of pain management and disability benefits as a form of employment. 

The work begins with the DWP automated message, stirring a sense of dread, much like hearing your alarm tone through someone else’s phone. Ellie is portrayed as the stereotypical lead, purposefully placed on screen as a statement of palatibility. As the holding music plays, Ellie recounts some personal thoughts. In turn, anchoring the situations and struggles of the “in-between.” In-between referrals, in-between waiting lists, and in-between treatments. 

The video in its final edits uses iMovie default transitions and glitter gifs to reimagine a classic movie aesthetic, delivering a more low-culture and low-resolution piece, which is intune with the artists’ lived experiences and working class background.

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