Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Woman Hanging Wash

Woman Hanging Wash was my first performance for the Beginning Performance class I took at MECA with Ling-Wen Tsai in fall 2003. I've posted video stills from two other performances that I did for this class (see Primary Dream and Someone's First Thought). Ling-Wen had use of a window space on High Street in Portland and told us that we had to do our first performance in this window. All three of my performances featured clotheslines and projected images. In Woman Hanging Wash I dressed as my paternal grandmother, in a 30's house dress. There was a basket of white diapers that I first hung on the line, then took down, then hung on the line again. I did this for twenty minutes while a series of slides of me as a young mother and my children as babies was projected into the window from the street. The shifting images appeared on my back, on the diapers, and on the wall behind the clothesline, and my shadow added still another layer of pictorial information. This piece speaks of being a mother, of time passing, of aging and becoming a grandmother. It also speaks of generations of women doing the same simple and repetitive tasks that are involved in being a caregiver, tasks so key to our well being as to be considered holy.

Photographs from Woman Hanging Wash, 2003
performed in a storefront window on High Street, Portland, ME


Susan Beauchemin said...
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Susan Beauchemin said...

Haven't you finished hanging the laundry yet woman? I'm hungry what's for lunch?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I love this concept, and totally understand it. I had a dream many years ago in which i spent a very long time hanging clothes on the line, they were small baby clothes. Despite the time it took, when i walked away and looked back there were only a few clothes flapping in the breeze. Well done on an inspiring performance exhibition, one we might just replicate in some small way on mother's day at our community art gallery in New Zealand, if that is okay with you.

martha miller said...

hi rachel

yes, certainly - go for it! send me some pictures of the event!

have fun!