Holding Time

The experience of motherhood has been described as situating women outside the boundaries of linear, modernist time resulting in potentially a loss of agency (being unable to fit into the working world, for example) and being constrained to a ‘nether-land’ or liminal time and space until ‘normal time’ is returned[1].


This work seeks to recontextualise motherhood and breastfeeding in particular as an active, rather than passive activity, one that aligns mother and child with an older, and more universal time system and disrupts dominant western understandings of time.

Holding Time is twelve individually created portraits of breastfeeding in both still and moving image. The final work will incorporate installation, moving image and animation. Included within each portrait will be a series of geometrical glass-like shapes that form as time passes, into designs. The work will deliberately occupy a space between still and moving images, using the Time Maps to create an abstract picture of time at a glance.

The purpose is to challenge the dominance of linear time, both through the use of older, pattern-based representations of time and the assertion of non-action (sitting still) as containing potentially radical agency. Whereas linear time is associated with industrialisation, cyclical time is associated with agrian culture and is commonly found in non- figurative, decorative traditions.

The duration of each feed is multiplied by the age and duration of the breastfeeding relationship to calculate an amount of time spent in this pose by each mother. This information forms the data for the final Timemap for each portrait. Timemaps are based on Cosmateque designs, found primarily in Pre and Renaissance Italian churches. Constructed from a limited set of tiles (symbols) using time cycles rather than decimal numbers, Timemaps are a an ancient visual knowledge system from a time before calculus, when geometry was the vehicle used for communicating abstract information.

With the cooperation of breastfeeding mothers, studio technicians at City College Brighton and Hove, my glass making collaborator Mike Barrett and sociologist Lucila Newell, this project is a large collaboration.
 
The work has an accompanying participatory web project called The Parlour. The Parlour is a place for discussions around breastfeeding and will feature images from the project, along with interviews with the mothers and others.

I will be posting regular updates on my Facebook page and twitter account.
  • It has been such a privilege and a pleasure to witness these mothers, each at their own point on their journey of motherhood. Sometimes a mother is photographed once, sometimes more times, depending on the prevailing winds, technical issues, how we are both feeling and whether or not I can remember how to take a picture on that particular day.
    29/06/2015
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    Holding Time - Update
    It has been such a privilege and a pleasure to witness these mothers, each at their own point on their journey of motherhood. Sometimes a mother is photographed once, sometimes more times, depending on the prevailing winds, technical issues, how we are both feeling and whether or not I can remember how to take a picture on that particular day.
  • With the launch of Holding Time in September 2017, podcasts will regularly appear on the Parlour site, along with portraits of breastfeeding mothers, written interviews and a blog. The Parlour is an experimental collaboration designed to permanently break the cultural stigma surrounding breastfeeding. Growing out of ideas formed in the inception of my photography project,  Holding Time, it is a space for women to comfortably discuss breastfeeding. By combining a broad program of documentation and discussion through web streamed talks, social media and a body of shared images it is a political intervention, both real and virtual.
    29/06/2015
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    The Parlour
    With the launch of Holding Time in September 2017, podcasts will regularly appear on the Parlour site, along with portraits of breastfeeding mothers, written interviews and a blog. The Parlour is an experimental collaboration designed to permanently break the cultural stigma surrounding breastfeeding. Growing out of ideas formed in the inception of my photography project, Holding Time, it is a space for women to comfortably discuss breastfeeding. By combining a broad program of documentation and discussion through web streamed talks, social media and a body of shared images it is a political intervention, both real and virtual.
  • For anyone who has spent time in hospitals as a patient, visitor or healthcare professional, it is clear that good art enhances not only the immediate environment but also contributes not only to patients mental well-being but also their recovery rates.
    29/03/2013
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    Art as Medicine
    For anyone who has spent time in hospitals as a patient, visitor or healthcare professional, it is clear that good art enhances not only the immediate environment but also contributes not only to patients mental well-being but also their recovery rates.
  • While the world reeled from the dizzying implications of this event, a different kind of ‘reeling’ was taking place in editing rooms across the world. The numbered frames were cut, frozen and slowed for re-examination.
    29/03/2013
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    Bullet Time and Cyclical Time
    While the world reeled from the dizzying implications of this event, a different kind of ‘reeling’ was taking place in editing rooms across the world. The numbered frames were cut, frozen and slowed for re-examination.
  • Lack of Time. No Time. No time to stop. Time and our relationship to it, is central to our possession of ourselves
    29/03/2013
    Comments (1)
    On Time and Ecology
    Lack of Time. No Time. No time to stop. Time and our relationship to it, is central to our possession of ourselves
  • A survey of writing on the subject of Photography and Time
    29/03/2013
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    Drawing Time: Notes on Time and Photography
    A survey of writing on the subject of Photography and Time
© Lisa Creagh 2017