This research thrives on the contribution of family. Prioritising the family member as artist and their experiences of making the work are key and as such Sarah and Andy exercised their position and closeness to family to co-construct the work. This elaborates the ethical and intimate relations between family members, which can make this kind of performance practice possible. In their own ways Sarah and Andy argue that ethics and care are important considerations in artistic work which operates in the home. Working in this way underscores the ways they explore curating as an extension of care.
This piece of practice was the result of a particular methodology which was also made possible by our close relationships within our family. The significance of the piece can be found in the ways that Sarah and Andy worked intimately with family members and their memories. Sarah, developed a series of provocative questions, drawing upon Kuhn’s (2002) notion of memory work. This process presented a collection of memory scores which were later explored to generate performance, films, soundscapes and live elements. A particular feature was keeping and honouring the original intention of the spoken memories to retain a ‘feel’ of the telling, guided by Langellier and Peterson’s (2004) approach, wherein they focus on the speaker’s original expression of the narration.
Andy drew upon his work as a composer and adapted his field work recording processes to capture anecdotal text, interviews and architectural sounds in the home to develop sound scores and compositions. Together they worked on a sensitive process of collecting memories and developing original performance work with family members.
31 Days Old explored explicit and intimate content from personal and family narratives, exploiting a particular relationship between Sarah and Andy and the family participants, and heightening ethical considerations when using this content in an artistic work – whether that be sensitive material revealed orally or a performance from someone who has never performed before. This was done through developing processes that were person-centred and changeable, depending on the needs of the participant. A secure environment was essential. For example, in Barbara’s Story, the process of developing this work was not only creative, but also a personal, reflective journey on her recovery from illness.