Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

Artist Statement: Maternal Attunements




List of Authors: Rantala Teija

Publisher: The Open Library of Humanities

Publication year: 2018

Journal: Studies in the Maternal

Volume number: 10

Issue number: 1

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.16995/sim.253


Abstract

The autophotographic images in this work depict the connection between mother and daughter. This connection comprises intensities and affects that resonate through movement. The desire to connect folds these intensities and affects into movement and towards ‘matter’ as momentary enactments, modalities of subjectivity, for instance, in bodily and facial expressions (Guattari 1995; Braidotti 2005/2006; Barad 2003). The purpose of this work is to enable us to consider the maternal as a ‘sphere’ in which the desire to connect is explicit, and enables movement between separation and connection. I employ Bracha L. Ettinger’s (2006) concept of ‘encounter-event’ to create an understanding of motherhood as a sphere for this significant affective relationality. Erin Manning’s (2013) theorization of movement is also utilized to help to make sense of how the various ‘shifting perspectives of one’s being’ take place in such encounters; in other words, how these temporary identifications and subjective formations occur and become possible. This is to understand these human and non-human processes relationally, constantly creating us as more than one. These maternal encounter-events subjectivize us within processes that occur beyond traditional developmental narratives. According to Ettinger, we cannot talk about the development of subjects, since we are always in the process of transformation and co-production as we are (separately) connected to one another, and to our mother-as-the-other, being born, that is, of a female body (Ettinger 2006, p. 4, 123). In this co-production, ‘the maternal’ denotes neither motherhood nor becoming or being a mother; instead, the maternal is the ‘in-between’ connection in which the subject is perceived as attuned and transformingly connected to an adult female subject (Kristeva 1985; Ettinger 1992, 2006, 2009). ‘Subject’ is constantly and differently formed in relation to others. In the early stages, this occurs in relation to the mother, since bodily functions are shared with the mother as the separate other. Mother-as-the-other is therefore part of our embodied historical subjectivity, which is constantly changing. This enables us to consider the maternal as a ‘sphere’ that is able to ‘embrace’ and ‘nurture’ these connections in everyday encounters. Hence, femaleness does not denote femininity or womanhood as gendered identity; rather, it signifies a process that is both actively embodied and metaphorical. Motherhood is the multitude of elements in this process, producing collective pre-subjective images, points of reference, and enactments. These are the images we keep generating. They become arrangements and dispositions that are recognisable as feminine or masculine, but always in their ‘mattering’ depend on momentary arrangements and the various events in which they emerge (Braidotti 2006; Ettinger 2005, 2006; Massumi 2006). As the maternal relational ‘sphere’ fosters sustainable ways of being and becoming, it also endorses femaleness as a fundamental element of identity construction, regardless of one’s sex.


Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 11:56