Thursday, December 30, 2010

A mother (artist) of an identity crisis!

As we begin to put links out to the world and connect with various forums and platforms for sharing BIG, Lilly and I freeze in unison. We both lose our breath. And then we find it again, laugh, let it go, and get back to work.

We are both working artists primarily in and for an adult world. As our child-focused 'likes' fill up on facebook 'outing' us as 'mumpreners' to our friends, the wearing of the BIG new identity shakes us both. We are not used to being this visible. And for many of our friends, so out of context.  I had coffee the other day with a visiting french choreographer who thought I was a children's writer because of the link to BIG on my email signature. As it turns out, he was as interested in my work with BIG as he was with my choreographic practice and we laughed a lot about identity, dance, kids, and Perth. It was an unexpected trip up into thinking about visibility, perception and image. About how much we take for granted about who we are and the worlds we slip between.

It brought to my attention too, that in my work, my children are pretty much invisible. Yes, the odd reference to the balancing act is recounted but, really, they are unseen and unspoken of. And that is the way it works best. After all, as mothers we are not defined only by our children. And at the same time, of course, we are. The literature on this is extensive and I don't plan to write a thesis on it here, but I have written several papers on the career(ing) dance of the artist-mother, and will link to them here when I work out how!

I wonder sometimes, how it is possible to completely give my all to several children, people and projects at the same time. It seems one idea drives the next and the momentum builds in the transition times allowing for otherwise impossible responses to provoke me to places unplanned. I dream about the beginning of a new project, wake up and write notes on another, while simultaneously landing on a line for a new script I am co-writing. Lilly quietly puts her PhD proposal in her pocket for now, as she flies to Tasmania for work with babe and BIG in arms. We think to put links up here to our other work - to offer windows into the worlds we occupy, to our experience as educators, our history and mutual ongoing passion for 'response' based work, to the worlds that fuel this BIG one. We talk about how BIG can hold us both and all that we imagine for BIG as we draft the bones and body of the first issue of the magazine.

We formulate houses and footings for BIG with the main house a website where kids are immediately welcomed and offered a view to the BIG sky, as well as rooms and gardens containing words, characters and ideas and cool things to respond to and direct. Sitting in the window will be This BIG blog continuing the journey of the mother artist, the day to day 'making of a magazine', and the evolving story of BIG.

Future Bird with Maraca and plasma sword.
Jack, 10, Perth
So. We accept our expanding cloaks, make friends with other fabulous publications and start sorting the flatplan. All the while, there are myriad birds flying in response to Bird Call. Birds imagined and realised in so many ways.

A very good friend of mine, Jack, (10) draws me a continuous series of birds. Like his future bird, I send my identity out in all forms, holding a sword in one hand and maracas in the other.

Play on.

Birdie Bird. Jack, 10, Perth

Eletro Bird. Jack, 10, Perth

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