Performance films made 1998-2018 were often juxtaposed with sculptural installations and live performance as part of a time-based practice.

Film still from Like a ship righting itself, June 2020

I thought of short films as not only documentation but ‘performance video’. Because of time, site and context live performances are never entirely the same, thus they are not repeatable. They were often re-sited, re-titled and re-worked as a different iteration. Film was very important to live processes that often juxtaposed live work, film and objects in installations that re-created differing time frames.

Film, Belatedness and Return (Delpha Hudson, 2017)

‘Textual residues and traces, the text’s materiality and it effects in marking the bodies of the author and readings, and corporeality and productivity for readers’ (Grozs, E., 1995, p. 13 ).

‘I’d come across Pieces of Scarlet when researching herbs, and traditions relating to women for a project in the old grotto at Blossomfield House in Solihull. Arcane customs involving an almost religious reverence for the written word reveal underlying belief in the magic of text. Pieces of scarlet came from a common custom of women wearing red cloth pieces with a symbol or letter as a healing remedy. Handing out the pieces of scarlet in Birmingham city centre felt like giving away and sharing women’s pain and trauma. I don’t think I was even aware of how much this felt like a way to heal my own pain and trauma at the time.

I often play with history as seen from now. Constant changes in historical interpretation make the concept of truth non-existent. Historical materialism is the basis of a kind of discursive positioning in which art can be created through permeable interpretive frames that can never be finalized. Hal Foster’s notion of return, and diachronic and synchronic time has led to many time-based projects in which I use layered, restructured and relayed events. Foster’s theories of deferred- action, retroaction and the significance of events produced through ‘ a complex relay of anticipation and reconstruction’ (Foster, H., 1996), inspire the use of re-versioning and using video documentation combined with objects which represent layers of physical presence and absence, past and present. Contra-punctual live performance can be juxtaposed with previous events, mixing the now with the then. In some performance and installation there is a reference to a future in which things will be returned to and re-played again. 

I make what I consider to be video performance works when there is no audience on site (On the Margin) and in some works deliberately worked with layers of time, site and distance (Something Special, Double Void). Because I am interested in possible dialogue between time frames, A walk with Jane Austen was filmed twice, and the two versions of time spliced together. The additional repetitive looped soundtrack echoes an emotive sense of return and replay.  Performances are not repeated but are re-sited and re-visioned. Although repetition over time remains a metaphor for how we never learn and never completely understand the patterns and transactions we are locked into, using different sites, contexts and formats marks each event as an individual event. It creates movement within the idea of a work of art as static.  Fixed and unified truths are versioned and replayed, overcoming philosophical and psychoanalytic positions.  Multiple strategies present ways in which a female Subject may take breath and live.

Women do not fit into male-orientated philosophic structures that posit that she is only lack and can only be represented as such, or that because of her potential maternal state she is not one but two. Finding ways to present the body and its boundaries as flexible and the maternal body as a liminal space –  somewhere between – interferes with patriarchal notions of fixity and containment. Her body can create dialogue between discourse, containers and enclosure.  In between and in dialogue with site, body, time and space the female body has the potential to be a ‘workshop of possibilities’ in which ‘echo and feedback loops’ create patterns of repetition in which ‘self-emerges [in] a relational dynamic between past, present and future’ (Battersby, 1998, p.174).’  

film still
Out with mother, video Still, 2012

Watch one of Delpha’s films

Original films were made on DV tape and transferred to VHS and sent by post around the world.

Find out more about where films were shown.

film still of woman sweeping arug in the middle of a field
Dr Marianne May collaboration Swept under the rug, 2020


Collaborating with Dr Marianne May in our 2020 film, Swept under the Rug which she wrote and performed and was filmed in Cornwall just after lockdown and shown at Tremenheere Gallery, 2021.

Our collaboration also extended to conversations about art and archive. Delpha was interviewed by Dr Marianne May for the Art Cornwall website

Dr Marianne May also generously wrote a review of my practice. Read on below:

View other archive works