An Artist Residency in Motherhood

I started reading these daily routines of 100 different mothers around the world yesterday (via Jessica Stanley’s lovely blog) and now I CANNOT STOP READING THEM.

There is no scroll, no page numbers, and a LOT of typewriting on construction paper about breastfeeding and throwing pears on the ground. They are all incredibly fascinating (to me) and now my routine, were I to type it up on construction paper would be something like:

9 a.m.: Wake up to boyfriend making coffee, eat breakfast in bed.
9:30 a.m.: Shower, get dressed.
10 a.m.: Get back in bed, open laptop, read typewritten routines of mothers I don’t know for next 15 hours.
1 a.m.: Go to bed.

It turns out these daily routines are part of an art project called Artist Residency in Motherhood by Lenka Clayton, the premise of which I kind of love:

Artist Residency in Motherhood is an unusual artist residency that was created by the artist, is funded by the Pittsburgh Foundation and is taking place inside the artist’s own home and life as a mother of a one-year old child.

Lenka Clayton, conceptual artist and full-time mother created Artist Residency in Motherhood as both a personal and political statement. Artist residencies are not usually intended for artists who have families. Mostly, they are designed as a way to let artists escape from the routines and responsibilities of their everyday life. Artist Residency in Motherhood is different. Set firmly inside the traditionally “inhospitable” environment of a family home, it subverts the art-world’s romanticisation of the unattached (often male) artist, and frames motherhood as a valuable site, rather than an invisible labor, for exploration and artistic production.

Artist Residency in Motherhood provides the artist with a studio, materials, a travel allowance, monthly stipend, studio assistance, mentorship and accountability. For the 227 days of the residency the fragmented mental focus, exhaustion, nap-length studio time and countless distractions of parenthood as well as the absurd poetry of time spent with a young child will become the artist’s working materials and situation, rather than obstacles to be escaped from.

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2 Comments / Post A Comment

PicNic (#3,760)

I’m so interested in how people spend their time. This series is really addictive, I’ve been reading it for the last hour. I don’t have any children, but my typical week day is something like:

6:20 alarm goes off, snooze x2. check for new zits. pack breakfast and lunch. pick up clothes off floor and put them on.

7:07 bus into work. get in 10-17 minutes late.

8:00 check work email. check personal email. Read billfold. Read xojane. Read Boston.com. Read billfold. Read xojane. check work email. check facebook. check bank account. make budget until I get paid again. eat breakfast.

11:00 wish it was lunch

11:15 eat granola bar

12:30 lunch

1:00 “get to work” in a serious way. answer emails furiously and with extreme efficiency

3:30 go catch a bus

4:20 home, take off pants

4:30-8 dishes, dinner, shower, magazine, sewing

8-10 mindless primetime

10-10:30 read in bed, fall asleep after 10 minutes

and by typical I mean this is exactly what I did yesterday, and every day through lunch. Then it’s sort of a choose your own adventure book except all of the adventures are a bit mundane and everything ends with bed by 10:30. womp womp.

Trilby (#191)

I don’t understand this project description, but I read a lot of the blog entries yesterday and loved how much they evoke my memories of life with new/young babies– the rhythms, the repetitious chores, the joys(!), the constant presence of the Baby in the center of everything you do during those early years. Wonderful.

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