This work addresses ideas around Motherhood and Time. Breastfeeding is not an economic activity, is free and cannot be commercialised. In a society preoccupied with economic growth, formula has been presented as a time-saving alternative to breastfeeding but this work challenges our notion of time, presenting the act of breastfeeding as occupying an older, more universal time system, where time did not equate to money. The mothers featured are presented alongside a reimagined ‘Timepeice’ digitally reconfigured from ancient Cosmatesque design. Rather than animated at 24 frames per second, each mother is presented in an emptier time of only twelve frames per minute. The effect is to slow time down, an emptying out of time that is strangely calming.
The range of breastfeeding mothers is deliberately broad. Mothers range in age from early twenties to mid-forties, with children aged from a few weeks to up to three and a half. There are tandem-feeding mothers (mothers feeding two children simultaneously), single mothers and mothers of sick children. All are shot in the same way: against a neutral dark background in lighting reminiscent of Renaissance paintings.
The development of the work is promoted using a specially created online Social Enterprise called The Parlour. Creagh describes this as ‘preparing the ground’ for the work by engaging with a diverse audience of passionate breastfeeding mothers on social media and the web. Through interviews with the participating mothers, and a blog written by Sociologist and collaborator, Lucila Newell, the ideas and themes of Holding Time are explored more broadly and the Parlour will be hosting a workshop during the exhibition on the themes around Motherhood and Space/Time.