Gillian Wearing ‘Sasha and Mum’, 1996 – Ideas for my LRI artist’s residency

I am considering editing video footage of elderly people being fed, undressed and given bedbaths in hospital that I got from British Pathe,  to try to convey some of the issues that are current about how the NHS treats it’s elderly patients. The video by Gillian Wearing ‘Sasha and Mum’ came to mind as it depicts the ambiguity between caring, control and aggression that I feel is relevant to the nurse-patient relationship.

In her video Sacha and Mum (1996), she directed actors and manipulated the editing process to create a film that explores the complex, contradictory nature of a mother-daughter relationship. Sacha and her mother share an intimate moment as they smile and hug in a bedroom, yet their embrace slowly shifts into a tussle. As love and aggression blur, the mother begins to tug, pull, and otherwise physically dominate her daughter. Sacha’s odd vulnerability and her mother’s aggressive volatility are underscored by the speeded up video, which quickens their gestures, and the distored sound track that transforms their speech into anxious gibberish. By the film’s end, it is unclear whether Sacha is a disturbed person whose mother is trying to calm her, or if the mother is a disturbed aggressor from whom Sacha is trying to free herself.

Gillian Wearing

Sacha and Mum

Sacha and Mum, 1996. Black-and-white video projection, with sound, approximately 4 min., 30 sec., edition 2/3, dimensions variable. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the International Director’s Council and Executive Committee Members: Eli Broad, Elaine Terner Cooper, Ronnie Heyman, J. Tomilson Hill, Dakis Joannou, Barbara Lane, Robert Mnuchin, Peter Norton, Thomas Walther, Ginny Williams  97.4571. © Gillian Wearing accessed 29.03.2011



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