The home as a site of creativity and resitance through film, feminism and performativity: 19th October 2012

At this meeting I will be refering to four examples of practice that are all centred on the home as a site of creativity and resistance. Marlene Dumas, “Meshes of the Afternoon” 1943, Martha Rosler. “Semiotics of the Kitchen” 1975, Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles 1975 and Lucy Gunnings “Climbing around my room” 1993.

We will be making small films of between 1-5 minutes long on our mobile telephones about a subject that you find personally meaningful to you at the moment. You can bring props, coustumes, scripts etc or just improvise on the day. The films that we make together could provide sketches or ideas to further your own pratice, or you may wish to develop these further in collaboration with another member of mewe.

Below are some thoughts about this next meeting that build upon discussion’s from the last.

Women go out of the home to their places of paid work, then at home we love and care for our partners and children, complete housework, cook food, tidy, clean, organise, manage financies, pay bills etc and whilst doing the washing up or pushing the pram or reading books to our children before they go to sleep at night we hatch fabulous creative plans.

So when and how do we find the time and energy to realise these creative plans when their are so many demands on our physical and emotional lives ? Or rather more importantly is it essential for our own happiness and wellbeing that we look at our own needs within the family and how we can work towards finding the space and time to fulfil our own creative potentials.

Creative women have always found time for their practice in the depths of the night or the early light of the morning. As we speak I am at the kitchen table writing this whilst the family snoozes in bed. To be creative is it essential to be uninterrupted and alone with our thoughts and ideas ? I am interested in challenging this presumption, and think that there is a way of creating work either together with our children on creative projects or being inspired by family and home life. I also think that the constant interruptions of motherhood can provide a catalyst for creativity. I enjoy creative ideas that are born of the ordninary, the everyday and the stuff of life. So are there ways in which creativity can be used to make parenting, domestic tasks, cooking, cleaning more enjoyable and even entertaining ?

I think that play is central to realising these ideas of creativity. Being a parent of young children involves facilitating play over prolonged periods of concentated observation and engagement, to check that children are safe and happy and other times just to watch, enjoy and relish in the pleasure of seeing them grow and develop. So is there a way that through playing together with our children we can make meaningful artwork together, collaboratively ?

I was watching Naoise stacking up some coloured bricks the other day and thought about how this would make a beautiful piece of film. Domestic chores also open up possibilities for play and creativity. Cleaning up marks and spills from the kitchen table, the floor and work surfaces is like a constantly shifting painting of production and erasure. Hanging out clothes on the line can also be fun arranging it into bands of colour, patterns and different sizes of clothes.

I also feel a strong resitance to these ideas, I do not want to have to always locate my practice within the site of the domestic as the only means to making and creating. I hate ironing, I hate sorting and tidying toys, I do not always want to be my child’s play mate…… I return to the space of uninterrupted calm and peace without children, partners or house work to complete. So how do we get to this place, must it just come down to teaching our children to be independent, responsible people to learn to pick up their clothes and tidy their rooms and to help out in the house to work collaboratively with us to achive happiness and wellbeing for all the family. What do you think and how do you make space and find time for creativity in your life ?

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