Rose, oh pure contradiction, joy of being no-one’s sleep under so many lids.
Lullabies began as an installation and performance in the storefront of Elsewhere artist collaborative in Greensboro, North Carolina. Through my month long tenure as an artist-in-residence, I drew inspiration from the works of Rainer Maria Rilke, especially his epitaph, which reads: Rose, oh pure contradiction, joy of being no-one’s sleep under so many lids.
Finding myself surrounded by found objects, most notably Tupperware, I began to think about the connections between lids and the vessels they belong to and contain: How do lids conceal, protect, support, express and complete that to which they belong? How does the body of a container reflect the human body? As containers for emotions, experiences, and artistic desire, how do we find lids that help us support and express ourselves?
As I began to work on my installation, I was fascinated by the homophone at the end of Rilke’s epitaph: in German, the words for “lids” and “songs” sound identical. Like eyelids that allow for restfulness, music is similarly a lid we use to find calm, containing ourselves, and lulling our children to sleep. The relationship between the active step of closing one’s eyes and the passive experience of hearing a lullaby became the basis of my project, eventually expanding to focus motherhood as my central theme. By the end of the month-long performance, Lullabies was foregrounded by questions surrounding the act of pregnancy and how pregnant people contain their children, both with their bodies and by singing to them before and after birth.
Lullabies I is the first in a series of works which began during from my residency at Elsewhere that encompass photography, sculpture, and audio installation.