Wednesday, June 7, 2017

More about an old knitter of black wool

I had an enjoyable conversation yesterday with Peter Murphy and Leonie Osowski in the Member's lounge of the NGV at Federation Square. Peter pointed out the death references in my recent project, especially the predominant use of black. I maintain that death is always there in an artist's work, however, my intent was to draw attention to the aging female body and the fragility of advancing years by using the knitted length against my body in an aesthetic way. I didn't cover my face in order to hide my identity, I already declared that the photographs were self-portraits. In fact, I suggested instead the absence of identity for aging women and the invisibility that appears to walk side by side with a woman no longer considered young or attractive. I ask you: When was the last time you saw a mature female presenter on television?
I was happy to see that The Drum (ABC TV) was addressing the difficulties that women over 50 years were likely to encounter, especially if they had no husband or partner, was divorced, or had recently lost a long time partner due to illness. They discussed the poverty that many would encounter, homelessness, loneliness, the loss of friends (not only those who die but those who do not want to associate with women who are alone and are possibly disabled). They also spoke of the ailing body and the women who would become more and more dependent on others. But the single most interesting point made was that women, who have cared for children and perhaps even ailing parents, who have gone without in favor of doing for another, are, at a certain age, no longer cared for because they can't perform the roles they had during their lives. It's a sad situation. We could certainly learn from other cultures in regards to the way they treat older folk.
This morning I made a short video ~ A close up of my hands air knitting against a spoken word performance I was involved in, in 1980, which included reading an excerpt from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and another from Samuel Beckett's play Not I. David Powell overlaid the spoken words over one another along with a percussion piece he composed.
My intention in the video was to present the younger me alongside the older me. The repetitive actions of my hands (mainly fingers) mirror the repetition we experience in day to day activities. The work also engages with the stereotype of considering older women as knitters, as if no other age group knits, which is a fallacy.
Unfortunately this blog would not allow me to post the video. I tried several times and can only add, that tomorrow or Friday I may be able to upload it to YouTube and then provide a link on the blog. Wish me luck.
OK. Click on here for the link

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