“The 17th-century proverb ‘My son is my son till he gets him a wife, but my daughter's my daughter all the days of her life.’ still rings true according to new research by SUNY Geneseo professor of communication Meredith Harrigan and Allison Alford.” In this study researchers found, daughters are frequently overlooked and unexamined, and, in turn, perform invisible labour.
As a participant and observer of daughtering, behaving dutifully is the action of a female child, caring for others. This internalised role informs women of the requirements of their birthright, to be caregivers and nurturers for others. Of all the roles women are required to fill in this society, daughterhood is universal. Being born, every woman is another woman’s daughter. The research shows that the “language” of daughtering is almost non-existent in social discourse as well as in scholarly or popular works. For example, a daughter who is caring or supportive is often described as being “motherly.”
This installation explores what it feels like to experience the emotional labour of being a daughter in adult years. By using the vehicle of photography and sound, this project captures the mundane tasks of a daughter's life, displaying the non-deal moments of the beauty and complexity of a daughter’s handling of routine.
This installation is displayed by a projector, to enhance how people will perceive the content. The projection is cast onto fabric, the textured canvas allows the viewer to view the photography with movement. Lit by images projected onto the fabric, photography is animated by a soundscape of dutiful sounds of cleaning, cooking, rushing, and telephone calls.
The photography is uniformly taken in 1:1 ration square form. This aspect ratio nods to the square format as seen on social media posts, particularly on Facebook and Instagram. The photos will display non-ideal moments and capture the reality of the daughter’s perspective. This is conjured in a series of point-of-view shots, displaying the subtle handling of daily life which is a deeply personal journey. The point-of-view focuses on the eldest daughter & only daughter of a household.
Working on this project and engaging in this novel topic was exciting to explore yet challenging to describe. This installation aims to highlight this specific feeling half the population faces during and after their formative years, as a daughter.