Kyla requires 24-hour personal assistance with everything from having a wee to making her artwork. In a hybrid-documentary/reality TV challenge, Kyla and Lou explore what it means to be a ‘key worker’. Setting themselves an ambitious task, Lou attempts to learn all of Kyla’s care in one week and if they reach a level of competency, will replace Kyla’s personal assistant and they will spend 24-hours alone for the first time. This is testing for them both - Lou has previously prioritised work over taking care of themselves, and Kyla often feels her autonomy is compromised when a friend is ‘helping her out’ instead of her usual paid personal assistants. Furthermore, although friends for years, Lou has never seen, let alone assisted Kyla with her necessities.
The division between friendship and work blurs as the two navigate new levels of intimacy and negotiate time together as employer and employee. The film responds to the embedded impossibility of social distancing for the people who need it most - because of Kyla’s requirements, intimacy and proximity are integral to her survival. Together they reveal the challenges of the ‘new normal’, and delve into relationship models for a communally supportive dynamic in the future. In one week, will Lou learn to integrate care into their own life? Can Kyla trust that her friend will support her personal care needs? The politics and intimacies of care are exposed through honesty, humour, and ingenuity, all of which are required when disability is involved. The pair offer relatable, humorous and awkward access to their evolving relationship and a personal perspective on the care crisis in one of the most unusual moments in contemporary history.
Read or listen to The Fluidity of Care, writer Rebekah Taussig's powerful response to It's Personal, which considers caregiving as both a personal and communal experience.