Video #4 ‘m o t h e r’

Camera, edit and performance: Emma Wilson

Text: “Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution” by Adrienne Rich

This week’s video came about through a culmination of several different factors. Firstly, from the outset of this residency I knew I wanted to explore integrating spoken and written text into the format of video. Secondly, I reached a point in my process where, after having spent three weeks acquiring new skills in working with video, I was faced with a question arising: “What do I want to say?” It felt like a shift was taking place, from approaching the making of videos through a more functional lens of seeking the mastery of new skills, to asking myself what do I want to communicate to an audience through my work. I didn’t have any answers in that moment, but a book by Adrienne Rich I was dipping in and out of recently came to mind. When I opened the pages, words began jumping out out me, just as if they were placards from a 1970’s Women’s Rights protest. This was such a potent and significant time, that I personally did not experience but definitely reap the benefits from today, and still face some of the same challenges that people were trying to bring societal awareness too and change back then. I’ve also for a long time had an interest in reflecting on themes of Mothers and Daughters and Motherhood, as you can see from a sample of my reading collection. So I decided to go with this personal curiosity and bring my history of reflection and thought around these themes to experiment with ways of bringing these voices into a screendance format.

Whilst editing this video I came up against a brick wall and felt quite stuck. So many questions and doubts were coming to mind. It felt quite ‘heavy’ to be working with this text and to be bringing a more concrete kind of meaning to the video with the use of words. I got a bit lost and didn’t really know how I wanted to move forward with this video. I’m thankful that Dianne reached out as I was taking quite a bit time sending her the video. We ended up having a zoom meeting which helped me immensely. She was able to give some of her reflections on the work I had done so far, and some editing suggestions, which meant I could finally get to a point of creating a video ready to share. 

Below is a creative montage with fragments of our discussion together, edited by Dianne Reid. The rhythm of the chaos is somehow representative of my process I think!

After making this video I was imagining developing this work further as a live interactive installation event, with a holographic projection of the performing body, and video projections of the text and imagery and sound activated by movement of audience members through the space.