All posts filed under: Columns

Mother’s Ruin goes to Bedrock

This is an on-going series that investigates Bella Horlor’s new role as a young mother. An artist and poet, Horlor shares the banal quandaries that exist between artistic and maternal labour. I hauled the baby from the warmth of the car. I’m sorry girl but I’m not missing this one. I fumble with my keys, and lock the car before I remember that breast milk is a natural sedative and actually that might be my best bet here. So into the front seat she goes, on the boob looking up at me with a slight frown. I haven’t been to an art show since becoming a mother. Mainly because they often tend to be right around our bedtime, and honestly when I found out I was having a baby, I lost plenty of friends who were more comfortable to just leave me to it. That’s been fine, but not for this one. This one was Bedrock, a show at a Studio One Toi Tū by Charlotte Benoit. Charlotte and I were in the same year …

Sleep

This is an on-going series that investigates Bella Horlor’s new role as a young mother. An artist and poet, Horlor shares the banal quandaries that exist between artistic and maternal labour. You know you should do the vacuuming when your baby does a shit and you have to pull a 20cm long hair out of her ass. This week we have had a sleep regression, meaning she wakes every couple of hours, rolls over and it’s disco time baby. Sleep deprivation used to make me achingly poetic, I could drink gin and bite on that cold moonlight like a cube of ice. It was a sexy thing to be an insomniac once. Artistic. Vaguely French. I used to find it inspirational. But after about two weeks on four hours a night sleeps, it definitely isn’t sexy anymore. My skin feels simultaneously on fire and completely numb, I feel like someone has bottled me in the eyes, and I cant walk straight. The night my girl was born they put me into the maternity ward at …

Nitty Gritty

This is an on-going series that investigates Bella Horlor’s new role as a young mother. An artist and poet, Horlor shares the banal quandaries that exist between artistic and maternal labour. So I have a tendency to get extremely poetic when it comes to motherhood. It really is the most wonderful thing that’s ever happened to me. But. Humans are messy, humans can be annoying, humans can be hilariously absurd. Having a baby is a concentrated intimate version. For instance, for months I have been unable to leave the baby alone while I go to the toilet, so she has to come with me. I take easily sterilised toys (no plushies) and try keep her occupied and in one place. Now that she can crawl she has become curious about what lies behind the toilet, so I have to fend her off, dangle toys in her face, and protect my limbs from her gnashing jaws. Sometimes she crawls off and I have to try call her back, mid bowel movement, as I hear various things …

Revolution

This is an on-going series that investigates Bella Horlor’s new role as a young mother. An artist and poet, Horlor shares the banal quandaries that exist between artistic and maternal labour.   Lately I’ve noticed my little girl have little baby tantrums. If I’m distractedly tidying the lounge and she wants more attention/ if she’s being manhandled/ or if I take the dirty shoe out of her mouth, she throws her arms in the air and starts slapping her sides while her face turns purple. That, or she’ll throw her head backwards in a comically exaggerated gesture of despair. Sometimes she even growls and bites. I describe her affectionately as a ‘firecracker’ a ‘force of nature’ and as a ‘hell-raiser’. I love that she’s lively, assertive, and inexhaustibly curious. Admittedly, these are also elements of my own temper. I tell her to calm down ‘order in my courtroom’ as my mother must of told me. But I really don’t want her to just be calm. I want her to take that temper and make things …

A Necessary Distance

Traffic had routinely backed up along Tamaki Drive. Single passenger cars hugged the distant bays, a winding conveyer belt of middle class life. I felt optimistic because of the icy blue harbour and Rangitoto Island. I thought it was perhaps one of my last chances to absorb the view. And even so, it didn’t look any different; I only saw the backdrop of our daily commute. Perhaps for my mum, this view looked like the vast space between familiarity and possibility. As we turned onto Kepa Road, I switched radio stations so we could dance in our seats, her fists still firmly gripped at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock. She always tells me that she wishes she had become a dancer. In a week she’ll be driving alone and in this same week I will be getting lost on the New York subway, missing the convenience and security of this car. The monotony of these commutes always reminds me of the novel Fierce Attachments by Vivian Gornick. It is a book I renewed twice and …

Santisima Virgen de las Barrikadas |Te Takakau tapu o Barricades | Blessed Virgin of the Barricades

Oracion – Prayer – Te Karakia (1) You, who were born on the street amid subversive graffiti, keep alive the flame of rebellion We whose multi-coloured spray made the miracle of your Incarnation You, who stand on an old tyre, crush the demons of capitalist domination Artist, eco-architect and champion of the people’s media – the poster, Xavier de la Cueva Meade lives in the hills of Whaingaroa-Raglan with his partner, Carolyna Hart. His motherland is Mexico. You actually cannot take Mexico outta the boy. The spirit of Emiliano Zapata is his guardian angel and Santisima Virgen de las Barrikadas is always interceding on his behalf to the heart of indigenous Mexico. Meade is an artist suspicious of America and the many manifestations of colonial powers and multi-national corporations, or ‘demonic’ capitalism. In 2003-4, I had the honour of teaching in the studio next to Meade, Xavier de la Cueva Meade at the School of Media Arts in the Drawing and Design faculty. Slowly learning about the depth of conviction he had for the indigenous …

Mother’s Ruin: Being Cool

This is an on-going series that investigates Bella Horlor’s new role as a young mother. An artist and poet, Horlor shares the banal quandaries that exist between artistic and maternal labour.  ________________________ I wasn’t always the mother with the mum-bun and the muslin cape. I remember existing as a singular creative person, doing things as decadent as drinking a bottle of Fat Bird for a creatively inspirational breakfast. The other week my baby girl suddenly started to poo frothy dark green explosions. Her ass became a little saagwala paneer cannon and I was terrified. She was vomiting and suddenly the coziness of her skin felt a little too warm and I was sure she was sweating, she was definitely sweating and were her eyes glassy? Her head floppy? Was she cross-eyed? Was that a rash?  Oh my bloody Jesus. Sierra. Hotel. India. Tango. Briefly I had a flashback to a night of drinking red wine, smoking out the window, and watching Bridget Jones’ Diary in my underwear. For Inspiration. It’s not like I could just …

Mother’s Ruin: PPS How come you have never heard of me?

This is an on-going series that investigates Bella Horlor’s new role as a young mother. An artist and poet, Horlor shares the banal quandaries that exist between artistic and maternal labour.  ________________________ He is old and grey and barely put together. I think he is wearing a zany hand knit jumper and loafers. I’ve seen him laughing amicably at my reading and nodding along. I’m standing here holding a paper cup of pop. Well at the moment it’s probably 60% pop. It’s rapidly becoming a spittoon filled by his manic anecdote about Susan Sontag. He’s never heard of me but he likes my work. I’m not pretentious- I’m easy. I have very pretty eyes. Stunning. So round. Warm. I’m awfully lucky as a pregnant woman; I don’t appear to be very large at all. Have I ever heard of an epidural? His wife had one of those. He recommends it profusely. Is it a boy or a girl? Are we going to try cloth nappies? You need about 36; 12 for the day, 12 in …

Annette McGuinness on dicks: ILD: pls txt me, k?

Part Five On Unrequited Reading and Unrequited Writing AKA The Recalled Book The year was 2012. A friend set me up with a book. Actually, I don’t remember who recommended the book, probably someone in my class, or maybe my tutor. There’s an outside chance that I stumbled upon a reference to it in independent research – it’s been known to happen. At the time, I had a university library account with 25 slots to burn. “What the hell, take a chance”, I thought. So I logged onto my account, and  “recalled” Chris Kraus’ “I Love Dick” from whichever sap currently had the book of my dreams. I soon became that sap. Let me just say, this book gets around. I started it about four times. Every time I got about two thirds of the way through, and every time I had to return it before I had finished, since some cruel person – some faceless third party – had recalled my book. I have been doomed to love “I Love Dick” from a distance. …