I had the pleasure of attending the launch event for Holding Time which is an experimental art project around motherhood and breastfeeding.
I was interested in the event because of the subject of motherhood and breastfeeding which is very close to me, but also because the title intrigued me, especially with looking in-depth at the ways artists use and portray time for this unit.
The project involves photographs, animations, conversations, presentations and a lot of collaboration and aims to inspire a new generation of families to find their way back to breastfeeding, which is as old as humans themselves.
There are different ways the concept of time is interwoven into the work. There is a moving animation of Breastfeeding mothers that evokes images of an ancient breastfeeding circle.
There are also the photographs that are incredibly powerful themselves as a rich tapestry of diversity and variety in breastfeeding. The idea that this photo captures a very intimate moment of time between mother and child.
There is also a deeper exploration of time. Becoming a mother can sometimes make women outsiders to “normal time”. A woman can go from working full time and having a very time defined role to having their world turned upside down. Breastfeeding still even in 2021 makes it difficult for some women to return to the world of work, they can lose part of their identity and with it feel like linear time has stopped for them.
I find the technique describe by the artist Lisa Creagh fascinating.
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.http://www.lisacreagh.com