ArtsLab Shopfront's artists in residence

Distances

Finally! I’m in the space at Shopfront, at the time I said I was going to be here, sans an icky cold that I ‘got out of the way’ last week, and I’m ready to create. I feel vaguely clearer (is that possible?) about my work: previously I thought that I would explore two separate threads that somehow link back to the poems I am using. The threads were to be ‘love’ and ‘heritage.’ Now I see that the two are interconnected. In researching my heritage I have found there is love, familial love certainly, but also the love story between my grandparents. I am fascinated by these connections and by the fact that my grandmother sent me a book of love poems given to her by my grandfather at a seemingly random time of her life and in our relationship. I want to tease that out a little further, and this leads me to another struggle I am having: how do you create a work about love and about heritage without being overly sentimental? Everyone has grandparents, that’s a fact of life, so there must be some way to tap into that and make people think about their own histories and the thread of love (or not) weaving throughout. How, is the question.

I’m also thinking about distance at the moment, mainly because it defines my relationship with my grandmother in the north of Ireland. To talk to her doesn’t take much, a simple phone call or a posted letter, but she is still so far away. What has this meant for our relationship over time? Does she think about it much? I know that when I visited her 2 years ago, she told me how excited she got every time she opened a letter from me or my sisters, and how she would read them to her friends over a cup of tea and cucumber sandwiches and they would all exclaim over our lives. I want to show this in a performative sense, bring home this idea – that my grandma is on the other side of the world and I can’t just nip down the street to visit her.  That I am her granddaughter and she is my grandmother, but so many gaps separate us. Age, time, technology, space, life. How do I bring her, and her experiences (especially her experiences with love that have so intrigued me since she sent me the book from my grandfather) home to me and through me to an audience? How do I traverse the distance?

One Response

  1. stitchi says:

    Technology is such a gap between myself and my grandparents, the fact that they push away newer technology effects the things that they think or worry about, in the same sense that when i take in and understand new technologys it effects the way that i live, organise things and what i worry about.