holding time


Single screen animation, 11 minutes


The Holding Time Animation is both a single screen and multiple screen piece, 11 minutes in length with an accompanying soundtrack composed and performed by Helen A Wilson.

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].

Each mother was photographed every four seconds. These stills were then used to create short sequences, animated in ‘realtime’. The use of one frame per four seconds disrupts the time illusion typically created through the acceleration of 24 frames per second. The Cosmatesque Timepiece offers a PreIndustrial alternative to our linear timekeeping through a scale-based timecode that grows as time ‘passes’.

This 'right-brained clock' is based on an ancient Cosmatesque design, found on the floor of the Sistine Chapel contextualises the breastfeeding mothers within an older decorative tradition, recontextualising motherhood and breastfeeding in particular as an active, rather than passive activity, by disrupting the dominant western understandings of time.