PERFORMING PARENTHOOD 2017 OFFICIAL SELECTION:
Courtney Kessel (USA, Ohio)
In Balance With (2012)
Performance documentation on film (5 minute edit)
“In this performance my six-year-old daughter, Chloe, and I sit at opposite ends of an empty sixteen-foot seesaw. During the thirty-minute performance, I add items that represent our lives such as toys, her books and sketchbook, my research books, food, laundry, tools, and pots and pans to her side of the seesaw. Constantly checking in with her well-being, I continue until both sides have reached equilibrium. While hovering in a balanced state, I am continually counteracting her every move. Here we remain until she is ready to come down. In communication the entire time, the words we share are available to the audience but are not for the audience.
This piece is the confluence of many of my ideas. It relays and relies upon the non-privileged, unspoken language of the maternal, the process as opposed to the product, and the repositioned domestic dialogue.
Through sculpture, performance, video and sound, I endeavour to create a space that examines language and maternity through a feminist lens. Transcending the boundaries of the public and private, my work repositions the ongoing, non-narrative, excessive dialogic flow that occurs within the domestic space, making visible the often unseen elements of motherhood.”
Courtney Kessel is a lecturer at Ohio University (School of Art). Her work as an artist has been exhibited on both sides of the Atlantic.