Writing the mother’s body

 

 

There have been a number of projects in which I ‘write the body’, inscribing the body performatively, or creating texts from unusual substances for installation.

Here are a few;

Written in Honey,  installation at Helmsley Castle, Yorkshire. Residency for English Heritage, June 2002

Researching domestic histories of the period c. 1500 –1600, I used a combination of historical documents and fiction to create text which was written (dripped) in local honey on voile, a semi-transparent material, which was then made into window hangings for the Tudor Mansion House.

Once the cloth was hung the text could only be seen when the light shone through it, a metaphor for all the lost, semi-invisible histories of womens’ domestic lives.

Written in Milk, durational performance, 2001 Dartington Hall.

The work is long and tiring and refers to the work of mother. It also more literally is  ‘writing in milk’, following the aims and desires  of  feminist writers Luce Irigaray and Helene Cixous, who both write of maternal body.

At first the room is filled with the sweet, sweet smell of almond oil, warming in milk. The milk is used to write on the white cotton that covers the span a huge studio space. This takes all day. Instead of disappearing as you might think, the milk soaks through leaving material traces on the floor underneath as well as on the cloth. The room smells of stale milk.

WIM 2 copy