mother mountain ghost


mother/ mountain/ ghost, 2011.

mother / mountain / ghost was accepted in the peer reviewed anthology, Performing Motherhood, edited by Amber Kinser, Kryn Freehling-Burton and Terri Hawkes, published by York University, Demeter Press, 2014. An excerpt from the chapter I wrote about the performance and photograph above states, “In direct response to this residency experience, but more generally as I unraveled the identity of mother, I stood in front of a mountain with a sheet over myself and my daughter (to be a mother and to be a mountain and to be a ghost). The performance underlines existence and erasure, with the idea that doubling of known and unknown creates a space for something yet unnamed. My claiming multiple identities (mother mountain ghost) while performing their disappearance is informed by Peggy Phelan’s idea of performance.  She states, ‘Performance’s being….becomes itself through disappearance (146).’ The disappearance in this case is not only of the moment the image was taken, but also the laboured and futile attempt at hiding the figure of mother and child underneath a sheet. We do not blend into mountain; we do not become ghost; we are not discernible entirely as mother and child. The stated attempt to erase through performative action, as well as the inherent fleeting nature of photography, creates a space of disappearance synonymous with the creation of an unknown.”

 

© 2017 Sheilah Wilson