Relationships; Fixed and Fluid

Relationships are titled (Mother, Father, Niece, Friend, Lover, Hometown, Prey,) but these categories tell us so little about the intricacies and nuances of relationships we have and hold that are constantly in flux…

In this workshop task you are asked to represent a relationship through any appropriate visual or written medium. Focus not on the participants in the relationship but the space in-between which makes up the relationship – this may be a physical environment, it may be an emotional space or it may even be mediated through objects.

The likes of…

Viggo Mortensen
Carrie Levy (51 Months)
Joshua Lutz (Hesitating Beauty)
Ron Jude (Lick Creek Line)
Elinor Carucci
Latoya Ruby Frazier

… may be of interest for various reasons


Laia Abril – The Epilogue
Although I have already spoken about Laia Abril’s The Epilogue in some detail in my Conversations post I thought it important to look at her this week also. This is because the images that she has created is not only because of the conversations she had but because she could not have fulfilled the project if there was not a relationship between the family and Cammy. The relationship between her and her family is the reason that the project is so strong; because we can feel the pain that they are feeling and we can see how much they love her and what it was like to feel the loss that they felt. We see things that signify their relationship and this enables us to relate to them a lot more than if we just saw straight portraits of them with no text or evidence to do with Cammy herself. This also allows us to think what if that happened to my mother? my sister? my brother? It enables us to see the relationships and because of this we can see Cammy even though she is no longer with them. It makes us feel something.

Elinor Carucci – Closer

The series ‘Closer’ by Elinor Carucci is something that I have always found fascinating. This is not only because of the beautiful images that she has created but also because of the relationships that she has with the people in her life. I will say now that I have great appreciation for the artist opening up her family life to the world for her work because this is something that I have always struggled with and I admire her pure honesty in some of the images and the titling of them. Because she is so honest in her images we get a sense of trust and we believe in the relationships that we see, we do not think that they are overly set up or posed in a sense that the images would have been recreations of real life events instead of being completely fabricated. This gives the images a sense of meaning something more. It enables us to invest our own personal relationships into the work and relate to the work a lot more than if they were overly contrived. The relationships within the family, although a lot closer than most of the relationships I have in my life, are something to be admired and part of the reason for that is how beautiful Carucci has made them look in her images. The pure love and honesty that is obvious in the work again allows us to trust the images and the people in them as being true; we want to know more about the people because we can relate to them on a purely human and familial level.


I decided to keep within my theme of family and show the relationship between me and my mother. I found the idea of relationships constantly changing really interesting because it is something that I have noticed over the years, especially since I began university and moved away from home for the first time, and this can be seen in the differences in how we communicate and show affection. When I was younger I used to always write notes and do little drawings for mum for when she got home from work trips, when I had misbehaved and felt guilty or for special occasions like mother’s day and these are something that she has kept and even displays on the fridge for everyone to see. However, as I have grown up the way we communicate is often through Skype, phone calls or texts and I found this contrast interesting as it shows how, even though we are the same people, the way we communicate and relate to each other has changed to an extent but is also still the same in a way. I had blurred some of the texts because they were not very interesting or not relevant, however, after a feedback session I recreated them with uthe original texts because it was pointed out that it looks like i’m trying to hide something and I completely agreed. I think that this piece, although very simplistic, is strong because of the direct comparison that I have made instead of trying to create images as a response to the notes from when I was younger which was one of the ideas that I had for this task.

Both this task and the research taken place has allowed me to think about my final piece more in the sense that it has made me want to pick up on specific relationships within my family and maybe even include these texts and letters in a sort of new prototype for a family album which takes things that we would not expect to see in one but are arguably more of an indicator of someone’s relationship than a picture of two people posing for the camera together. I hope to further this task and include things like Skype conversations, phone calls, letters, texts and emails to try and get a broad spectrum of means of communication that me and my mother us to stay in touch since I have moved to university.


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