Double-Void, durational performance and installation, Newlyn Art Gallery, December 2001

Creating metaphors for motherhood and  its ‘lived experience’, this performance was a starting point for presenting aspects of women’s lives that find no representation beyond the stereotypical.

The ‘maternal round’ was re-created by hours of dragging a hessian sack filled with lard (corresponding to the weight of my youngest son) around a circle. An infuriatingly repetitive sound loop of my son’s first word (‘bag’!) playing in the background, with three video screens showing the action of walking the circle over time.

Using performance with video as a series of events in time uses a sense of belatedness and palimpsest. Double Void became part of a series of related performances, outlined in these scores, with each of the media and footage incorporated into each.

  1. Burden, (The Works studios, B’ham, 1998) drag a sack of lard which corresponds to the weight of my child (40lbs) round a small chalk circle 9 times
  2. Double-Void (Newlyn Art Gallery, 2001) drag a sack of lard which corresponds to the weight of my child (60lbs) round a large circle for 12 hours in public indoor space.
  3. Double-Burden ( Leyden Gallery, 2017), carry drag a suitcase and a sack of lard, stopping only to share stories, for 3 hours, create a lard baby and sing lullabies to it.

Using performance and the body as a  space for presence and becoming (Irigaray L., and Deleuze G.,) can create new layers of meaning in representation and the maternal ‘void’ (Lucy Lippard), communicating its burden, and isolation. The weight of bearing and rearing children physically, and psychologically bears down on the mother, becoming in many cases a destructive and overwhelming force. Societal and cultural binaries in the West often isolate the mother from others and from herself, and whilst lip service is given to mothers, she is denied not only practical support and respect, she is also denied subjectivity, and selfhood.

Using visual ‘positionality’ (Braidotti R., and Grosz, E), and movement between time, site and metaphor, can create new representations that make it possible to discursively represent Mother.