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

Using performance and video as a series of events in time, metaphor and belatedness Double Void is part of a series of related performances, outlined in these scores:

  1. Burden, (industrial unit, 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. Outside Circumference, (not yet performed), row a sack of clay figurines (weighing 63 kg) around St Michael’s Mount, depositing them into the sea, to be found and shared by everyone.

Burden (1998) was performed to camera with my youngest child. Using an old warehouse, I dragged a sack of lard that corresponded to the weight of my son around a small circle ten times. This action was then made into a short film with a loop of my son’s first word:bag. Its repetition as infuriating as having to listen to a small child.

This video then became part of Double Void, shown as a video installation co-currently with the performance of dragging another larger sack of lard which corresponded to the then current weight of my son (60lbs) around a bigger circle made on the gallery floor, for a longer time.

The performance refers to the maternal round, physically and mentally. Lucy Lippard calls the maternal a “void”. The performance of the maternal can communicate the burden of motherhood, and its isolation. The weight of the child 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. Whilst lip service is given to mothers, she is denied not only practical support and respect, she is also denied subjectivity, or selfhood.

Using performance and the body as a  space for presence and becoming (Irigaray L., and Deleuze G.,) the artist can create new layers of meaning for maternal discourse, and deal with trauma. Using ‘positionality’ and movement (Braidotti R., and Grosz, E) between time, site and metaphor, make it possible to discursively represent Mother.