the artist dragging a red sack around a gallery with monitors behind
Double-Void, Newlyn Art Gallery, 2001

Many of Delpha’s performances explore mothers’ lived experience through repetitive performed acts and time-based installation. They engage with the void of representation of motherhood and use layers of time and repetition to evoke the burden and isolation of motherhood.


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

In 2001 I created a timebased performance and installation that combined live action with film documentation of previous performance Burden The Works studios, B’ham, 1999: drag a sack of lard which corresponds to the weight of my child (40lbs) round a small chalk circle 9 times.

In Double-Void (Newlyn Art Gallery, 2001) I dragged a sack of lard which corresponded to the then weight of my child (60lbs) round a large circle for 6 hours in public indoor space.

The maternal round was re-created by a durational performance of dragging a hessian sack filled with lard corresponding to the weight of my youngest son around a circle in the gallery all day. In addition to continuous film loops of the performance over time, an infuriatingly repetitive sound loop of my son’s first word ‘bag’ played in the background. 

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

A repetitious time-based performance of the maternal round was created by hours of dragging a hessian sack filled with lard corresponding to the weight of my youngest son around a circle. An installation was created that juxtaposed live action with film footage of previous actions aiming to create an overlay of time and repetition. The infuriating repetitive sound of my son’s first word bag was also looped as a sound installation with three video screens that showed other walking performance over time.

The central concept or action was durational walking a circle and dragging a bag of lard, whose weight corresponded with the weight of a child. Changing as the child grows, this action is a metaphor for the physical, psychological and cultural ‘burden’ of childbearing and rearing which women are expected to bear.

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

Using performance with video as a series of events in time uses accumulation and a kind of palimpsest. Double Void became part of a series of related performances, outlined in these scores, with documentation overlaid and re-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); drag a suitcase and a sack of lard, stopping only to share stories, for as long as I can. Create a lard baby and sing lullabies to it.

See more live performance that engaged with lived experiences of motherhood.