Video Stills of A stitch in Time one of the 10 micro-performances that made up Life Sentences

 Film shown at CAZ’s Dublin Square Eyes, 2013 Re-edit of performance at Dartington Hall, 2003.

Using a series of maxims and proverbs about motherhood, a series of actions were created to explore the language that contains and condemns women, especially mothers.

Sentences are a series of words arranged to convey sense but may refer to a term in prison. Maxims and proverbs are simultaneously sentences conveying  sense and non-sense. The disjunction and collusion between the sentences used and performed, using site, time and objects, become a collection of actions that enunciate a lived experience of motherhood in order to escape its confinement.

Mothers are often censured, blamed and removed from public life. Language confines and contains mothers in the same way that life sentencing for criminals, removes them from normal society.

Each maxim (the root of the word meaning doom and condemnation) is parodied and subverted in the hope that we can all ‘escape the prison house of language’ (Friedrich Nietzsche).


walking on lard performance
Video still of trying to walk on lard with cutlery taped to the wall

Short actions or micro-performances were based on these phrases: Actions speak louder than words; What the mother sings to the cradle goes all the way down to the grave; A stitch in time saves nine; Necessity is the mother of invention;It’s no use crying over spilt milk;Time is a great teacher but unfortunately it kills all its pupils;Defenceless as babies are, they have their mothers at their command;The precursor of the mirror is mother’s face; The pot calling the kettle black.

performance art
Video Still of The blind leading the blind one of the 10 micro-performances that made up Life Sentences

Watch the film Life Sentences

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