Video Stills of A stitch in Time one of the 10 micro-performances

Performance, Dartington Hall, 2003.          Film shown at CAZ’s Dublin Square Eyes, 2013

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’ (Vincent Leich).


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.

Watch the film online