Yiyun Chen with Patrick Schrauwen & Vera Schrauwen-Hinderling

Horizontal Living

In collaboration with Diabetes and Metabolism Research Group - NUTRIM school for Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism, Maastricht University

Horizontal Living is an environment suitable for horizontal posture developed by artist Yiyun Chen, Professor Patrick Schrauwen and associate professor Vera Schrauwen-Hinderling of the Department of Nutrition and Movement Sciences at Maastricht University. ​

It hacks and re-designs the current space for living upright, explores the change of lifestyle, perspective and health status of living in bed and aims to echo today’s indoor lifestyle and 24h culture. By designing a horizontal living studio and living and working in it for one month Chen mimics the lifestyle of the bedridden and investigates metabolic processes to see the impact of horizontal living in a restricted area on health and mind.

It is said we spend about a third of our lives lying down. The bed is the most natural location for a directionless behavioral pause, as it is the place in the house most associated with inactivity and rest. But for the infirm and the elderly, bed(room)s are the world. For them the bed is a symbol of limited bodily capability and physical dependency. And the long time spent lying down often gets the bedridden bad blood circulation, loss of muscle mass and social isolation. Being a paradox of health, the bed is a site of both recovery and deterioration. 

But today, lying down is also a choice made by the able-bodied. Post-industrialization brought work back into the home and made it possible to live a functional life without leaving the bedroom. The Internet generation can not only work in bed but eat, read, exercise, socialize in bed, even entertain sexual relationships with people miles away. People have lived vertical for a long time, but maybe the horizontal posture will become popular in 21st century?