Digital video, 1 min. 36 sec. (Abridged spiritual; artist’s grandmother, 8 hours; artist’s mother, 4 hours; artist, 12 hours)
This piece started with an abridged spiritual, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.” I taught my grandmother and mother the song myself, then filmed them separately, alone in their empty homes, singing it over and over – until they’d had enough. I shot my grandmother for eight hours, my mother for four. Then I shot myself singing the song for the combined time it had taken to shoot them.
The final video plucks only the last take from each long shoot to create the triptych, amputating the ritualized and deeply personal process behind its making. Digitally pieced into an artificial simultaneity/proximity, the video becomes a multi-generational chorus of a tragic narrative – and an actual performance of loss, isolation, and love – against homogenizing white suburban décor.
(c) Lizzy De Vita 2012