Using a process of conversation, listening and recording, I collect stories and produce objects which help me understand relationships, my research method also happens to be collaborative. This process is durational, both in the exchange of ideas and stories and how I chose to contextualise and re-perform the material. In I say a little prayer for you, this includes retelling stories, live in public spaces and live to air in the form of radio broadcast.
The collaborative component in I say a little prayer for you happens in domestic, private spaces, within a framework of trust, it takes time and care. The context for the work includes modes of sharing and collaborating which have historical connections to how women come together and form community.
Is it possible to represent the nuanced and contradictory individual stories shared with me, and is the work interpreted as a display of collective experiences of women? My response to this challenge has been to present the self portraits as physically connected works, in a quilt or cloth books and sharing women’s sometimes contradictory reflections. This is an attempt to avoid reducing the work into a universal homogenous response and to draw attention to the stories which came from the process, these stories seem to be the heart of the work.
Joanna S. Walker highlighted the absence of the body of the artist or performer; the trace of the work or a performance was ephemeral or suggestive of other ways of seeing.1 Making a shift from ‘seeing’ to ‘hearing’ I attempt to shift focus from the formal outcomes of my process. The self portraits, and my reworking of them into quilts, cloth books and embroideries, is a way for me to understand the research and reconnect with my collaborators.
As I develop this project further, I aim to highlight a discourse between the differing experiences women shared in response to the project. I continue to collect traces of actions in the form of self portraits and their experiences in the written stories they shared with me.
By bringing stitch into my process, these ideas are carried further, the relationships are then embedded in the work. Expanding the process from an intimate collaboration to re-telling these stories live on air as a podcast, the work may become more expansive, and the performance is on going. The singular moments from women’s lives then expand outwardly via the radio broadcast.
You can listen to the Beagle Radio podcast here, the link will take you to directly to the audio file.
Beagle Radio is a community radio station in Whangarei.
 Walker, Joanna S. ‘The Body Is Present Even If in Disguise: Tracing the Trace in the Artwork of Nancy Spero and Ana Mendieta’. Accessed 12 August 2018. https://www.tate.org.uk/research/publications/tate-papers/11/the-body-is-present-even-if-in-disguise-tracing-the-trace-in-the-artwork-of-nancy-spero-and-ana-mendieta.