Mothers go to extraordinary lengths for their children. For “Hidden Mother Photography” in Victorian times, shutter speeds were sometimes up to 30 seconds long so mothers would hide within the picture to hold their children still. Mothers revealed and concealed themselves, in order to create a “permanent document” of their children’s “identities”. This emotional labor is considered “invisible labor” because it is unpaid, undervalued, and often goes unnoticed in our culture. Instead of concealing their identity, I propose that the emotional labor these mothers perform actually REVEALS much about their identity–their ingenuity, inventiveness, commitment, and emotional labor and strength. My “moving portrait of emotional labor” pictures the process of photographic portraiture. I reenact their labor, along with enacting my own, as I pay tribute to the unpaid “hidden” labor of mothers that is performed universally, continually, unfailingly, throughout the world, thus monumentalizing it as collective and “visible”.
These momentary sculptures are assemblages of the items I use everyday as a caregiver for my children. I make them in my kitchen in the early morning before my children wake up while I’m preparing lunches for them before school and deinstall them the same day. All of the items in the assemblages have specific stories connected to them that are reflected in both the text and hashtags that accompany them.
Manos/Buckius engage rolling objects commonly used for auto mechanics’ work to perform domestic-based work highlighting and questioning the assumed duality between so-called masculine and feminine labor roles and the heightened value given to capitalist/commodity-based industry over caregiving/service-based (and often unpaid) industry. The video is a quilt of improvised encounters in interstitial and adjacent filmic space between the two performers; it is chance choreography with alignment and misalignment in movements and actions engaging objects and technology.
This piece is about domestic labor and caregiving labor, specifically that of mothers and daughters enacted and reenacted INSIDE THE HOME during the COVID pandemic. We reenact the BICYCLE ride of women in 1900 who seemingly ride “freely” OUTSIDE; we enact their ride during the COVID pandemic while quarantined INSIDE the home on a STATIONARY BICYCLE. These women might at first glance appear to be riding “freely” but women at this time rode bicycles confined by many cultural constraints that required various types of labor specific to women of the time (and women in general). The INSIDE / OUTSIDE and MOVING / STATIONARY dichotomies suggest the tension between restriction and expansion of women’s freedoms. The HOME & the BICYCLE have both been symbols of women’s simultaneous freedoms and oppressions.