Donna Haraway’s treatment of ‘Vision’ in her 1988 Situated Knowledge text is extremely helpful for my work, as it explores Vision in a political and epistemological context, giving a switched on academic framing to my use of (audo)visual research techniques. Haraway uses Vision as a metaphor to unpack ways of seeing, knowing and positioning.
She criticises the all-seeing Eye of the God-trick (the conquering gaze from nowhere that represents and marks bodies, while itself remaining unrepresented and unseen).
She advocates for embodied situated Vision that recognises and deconstructs it’s own positionality, specificity, difference, technologies and prosthetics for seeing; in the process making itself accountable, responsible, answerable.
She problematises ‘Seeing from Below’ and the vantage points of the subjugated:
Am hiding in corner of kitchen by fridge having a peroni and cheese sandwich. Preventive action vs cracking. Little one and my dad on their respective screens in bedroom and living room. This is only place I can hide with sunlight…
There’s a kind of madness in the deluge submerging home life. Everything is moved around as we try and sort a sleeping space for my dad and that’s stuck on hold as the blimmin Argos bed seems defective and assembly is taking days. We are sleeping on makeshift mattresses on the living room floor. Bags of food and stuff from the outside build up as they decontaminate and I work my way through washing them safely. I wake up everyday to the noisy crackle of dad listening to his old school radio and fiddling around the radio spectrum. Huge chunks of the rest of the day are filled with noisy crash-bang of little one’s cartoons – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie seems to get played at least once a day. However, what was initially a cause of frustration at the beginning of isolation has now become oddly comforting: ants have found a way into our flat and seem to find it comfortable here. The ants have moved in.
Honestly, writing about ‘my practice’ at this time doesn’t come easily. It feels out of place and so far away, almost unimaginable, when I’m up to my neck in hands-on caring, domestic logistics and working out how to pay the bills/rent over the coming months. Like who am I kidding that there is anything more important than the wellbeing of my nearest and dearest, and keeping house and home together. It’s wierd, like there is actually a part of me pushing ‘my practice’ away. OK, I’m pushing through and promising myself to get somewhere today in this post.
Wow, ok haven’t written for 19 days. The truth is that many days I thought about writing, but also thought it would be too boring as everyday looks very similar. And inevitably a long chunk of the blog would start the same – oh god so much washing up, cleaning, childcare…. can I even remember what my practice is, my work, what I actually would like to do with my time, my writing if I have 5 minutes? And dear reader, I wouldn’t want to bore you so you never came back again? 🙂
OK this is hard. I can dig deep and I can seek inspiration and I can enjoy all those precious moments with little one. BUT. But. but. Knowing that schools may not start until September, and even then there is the prospect of further closures over winter cold and flu season. AND. And. and. Knowing the rough set of emotional and material needs in the family (including my own). AND. And. and. Knowing that if any of us get ill, the set of needs on the cards will ramp up exponentially. ERGO. Therefore. ergo. This is hard. NOT EVEN TAKING INTO ACCOUNT the wider social picture. The doctors and nurses without sufficient PPE. The communities without doctors at all. The people living in loneliness, in hunger and/or in fear of an abuser. The challenge of ‘walking through the portal of Covid19 ready to imagine a better world and fight for it‘. ERGO. Bloody. ergo. Gotta prioritise and put in some space and structure. Gotta get to work.