I continue to work on this project, always being influenced by the work I’m seeing, either directly connected to UVC or elsewhere.
I think I am documenting two things:
- internal semi-conscious and unconscious object relations in particular with reference to self-femininity (and all that entails) and male Other
- subjective view of external social place of women as young girls, structures that shape them (us), relationships with Others (male and female), expressed through gestures, expressions, projected interpretations
I am trying to work out what feeds into the work & what should be in the work (I know I won’t know that for a while)
- Portraits of girls up to the age of 16 (the age I left SA and came to the UK, and left my girlhood behind)
- My diaries written between 1983-1987. There are only 4 of them and I think there must be another one somewhere – I think I stopped and started quite a lot. I thought it had begun as a school project where my first diary quickly became very private and I no longer handed it in to my teacher, but I now I’m not sure – I have not reread them for years and years, I’m not sure I can face it. But I have dipped in and out. They are to a greater or lesser extent filled with magazine pictures of women either alone, in groups or embracing men, plus some of Princess Diana – who my father once suggested I should try to be more like. There are also headlines from magazines.
- I have also kept letters from my father, mother, a Great Aunt and friends – and the thing I picked up from reading all of them is longing. The first set of letters is from a boy who kept asking me why I didn’t write. He must have been lonely. He was 13 or so, a pen pal who I liked writing to but found overwhelming once I met him. The letters from my parents in the earlier diaries were written to me because I was sent to boarding school when they got divorced and my father who travelled a lot received custody of us. Later I was taken out of boarding school (my brother was not) because I wasn’t happy there. But then my father left SA and my brother and I went to live with my mother in a situation that was less than ideal. The letters from my father are very sad. And difficult. There is one from me which I decided not to send because I dind’t want to burden him. Some of the sentiments in the letters from my father are unhelpful. He longs to see his children again. And I talk about longing to see him a lot in the diaries.
- Memories – fragments of, famously unreliable things. But augmented by photographs. Below is a small collection of documents/images from each strand.
I was not sure about simply copying and placing pages from my diary in their entirety and instead think it’s more interesting to look at fragments – not sure…will keep working on this aspect as I think it is important (or maybe not!) – whether anything from these documents end up in any final work or not.
Above are letters from my father which I have included as fragments. I am thinking about whether to do something physical to them and then to photograph that. The words are important but I don’t wish to display them in full – I don’t think.
The cropped photo is of a well known person kissing me in 1974 – he has since been convicted of some not very nice crimes, and is currently serving time in prison. He taught me to swim when my father worked with him. I was not harmed by him in anyway, I hasten to add. But my association with people who display disordered and troubled behaviour started young. Later my first ‘grown-up’ boyfriend used to yell at me for letting the towel touch the bathroom floor, carried me kicking and screaming back to his flat when I tried to leave, refused to let me break up with him, and followed me when I finally did, sitting in his car, watching me as I caught the bus to work. I think this aspect of my history is important to this work I’m doing.
These are images that I am considering from a selection. “I am interested in gestures and actions, expressions of an internalised narrative handed to girls by media, society, and environment.” – students interested in seeing other images and commenting (which I’m always very grateful for) please get in touch so I can send you a link. Thanks.
Images and words (c)SJField 2016