These Restless Hands: animating the place of memory
Land/Water and the Visual Arts research seminar
8 May 2013, Faculty of Arts, Scott Building, University of Plymouth
My paper explores the affinity between inner states of mind and the material specificities of digital moving image - repetitive visual rhythms of light and shadow, the perceived illusion of movement, and so on - in response to Maya Deren’s notion (1960) of the ‘continuous act of recognition’ - the dynamic underlayer of dreams and memories that is conjured each time we watch a film. In my presentation, I consider the maternal as the place of memory in relation to my animated film These Restless Hands (2012) currently being exhibited at the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol. Depicting my mother’s hands repeatedly crocheting then unravelling a woollen scarf, the film is an audiovisual form of écriture féminine, a term used by Hélène Cixous and others to denote ‘feminine writing’, the transformative practices that come through the body.

Keywords: animation, écriture féminine, film, maternal, Maya Deren, memory, stitch

Image: photo taken of These Restless Hands installation, Land/Water and the Visual Arts exhibition, University of Plymouth (4 March to 17 April 2013)