This 11 minute animation shows twenty four mothers breastfeeding in ‘real’ time accompanied by an invented Timepeice that marks the passage of time in shape and scale using an ancient Cosmatesque design. Music by Helen Anahita Wilson.
Holding Time animation (clip)
(c) Lisa Creagh 2018
Holding Time: Mother Interviews
As part of the Holding Time project, a number of mothers contributed their experiences of breastfeeding in a series of interviews. These are available on a dedicated YouTube channel and on the project website at www.holdingtime.org
“Do it, it's wonderful!” Liz, mother of two talks about the commerarderie amongst breastfeeding mothers and how her expectations of a difficult time breastfeeding were proven wrong.
Louise, mother of four, talks about her experiences both as a breastfeeder and as a midwife.
Imogen talks about the support that she had breastfeeding from midwives, her friends, her partner and the wider community in Brighton, England.
Mother of two talks about her experiences of breastfeeding around the world, in particular her home country of America.
Bethania thinks about why breastfeeding statistics are so low and wonders about this changing in the future.
Lucila Newell, collaborator on the Holding Time project talks about her experiences of breastfeeding, along with her ideas about breastfeeding and Time. For more information visit https://www.the-parlour.org/taking_our_time
Adonia is a mother to a baby with a heart condition, cared for in the Rose Ward of Royal Brompton hospital. She talks about the support she has received from the hospital in maintaining her milk supply whilst her son underwent surgery and the benefits she feels he has had from breastmilk.
Elizabeth is a Maternity Nurse at Royal Brompton hospital. She talks about the support the hospital offer to support breastfeeding amongst mothers on Rose ward and the benefits of breastfeeding to mother and babies who have heart conditions.
In the first podcast for The Holding Time Project Reena, mother of two, discusses her experience of motherhood as a powerful transformation.
Niamh is a Quality Improvement nurse at Royal Brompton hospital. She talks of the sorts of scenarios where mothers need breastfeeding support and how the hospital manages this across two departments.
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.
Despite accumulated evidence of the physical, emotional and mental health benefits to the child, as well as the environmental and social benefits, in a society preoccupied with economic growth the time saving arguments in favour of bottle-feeding remain a major obstacle to higher rates of breastfeeding. Holding Time is an exhibition about Motherhood and Time. Featuring portraits of twenty three mothers created over a period of nearly three years, this work is an attempt to capture the experience of breastfeeding from a mothers point of view.
Each mother portrait is accompanied by a digitally created 'Timepiece'. This 'right-brained clock' is based on an ancient Cosmatesque design, found on the floor of the Sistine Chapel. By contextualising breastfeeding mothers within this older decorative tradition, 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.
The range of mothers is deliberately broad in scope. Mothers range in age from early twenties to mid forties, with children aged from a few weeks to up to three and a half. There are tandem feeding mothers (mothers feeding two children simultaneously), single mothers and mothers of sick children. All are shot in the same way: against a neutral dark background in lighting reminiscent of Renaissance paintings. The work incorporates installation, moving image and animation. It can be shown as a six screen installation, or a set of still images, accompanied by a single screen version of the animation.
Mothers are seperately interviewed about their breastfeeding experiences and these are broadcast on a dedicated YouTube channel.
The development of the work is promoted via social media and a project website at www.holdingtime.org
Alison Bartlett, ‘Babydaze’, Time and Society, First Published February 19, 2010; pp. 120–132