Welcome to my 5th blog on Memories from the Home: this time I’m connecting with sounds in the home.
Clocks are often a present sound in our homes, the grandness of them depending on the house and person. From our mobile phones which are often our music listening devices, as well as alarm clocks, and voice recorders, to Grandfather clocks, wall mountable or little carriage clocks on the mantlepiece. All clocks modern or traditional have identifiable and unique contributions to the sound of the home.
These ticking trinkets, just as the presence of photographs, give us markers in time (as noted by one of my favourite authors John Berger)and a continual reminder of the passing of time.
This wall mounted Abbey Quartz clock belonged to my Grandparents, hanging in their front room, near to the edge of the colour change in the wall paper, just above another symbol of time – that years calendar. This one chimed on the hour, I can’t recall if it had the sound of the ‘tick tock’ pendulum. Looking back on the photograph of it now, I can see (please look closer) that the circle on the pendulum still has the protective film of green on it to stop it getting scratched. It could have been forgotten to have been taken off when hung, or purposely kept on to keep it nice, something I think my Grandparents would have done.
Wall clocks and their ticking and chiming was always that traditional sound I associated most with visiting my Grandparents, they had them for as long as I remember. It prompted me to look through old family photographs of my Grandparents front room with the clock in. I came across this one:
The photo shows a previous clock, in the same spot, sometime in the early 90’s, not too far from the mirror that now sits within my home, and has been symbolic of many reflections throughout my research and in navigating my grief and understanding my continuing connections to my Grandparents. The clock symbolised the rituals when we used to visit them, the time we would arrive, the 12 o’clock chime for their lunch, the chiming for the time for us to catch the bus home. As a child it was something in the background, counting the chimes when they happened.
As I got older and when taking photographs of the clock, I have stopped it in a moment, like the newer clock left after the death of my Grandparents, as if time did stop at that moment, but equally painfully obvious knowing that it continued, but without them. The sound of the chiming became a symbol of living in and being aware of the moment and moments past.
It therefore wasn’t surprising to me the reaction of warmth, I felt when an MA research participant’s clock, that was originally her Fathers, struck during our interview. I became fixed on the sound of the mechanics, sitting peacefully with her listening to the knock of the mechanism, and subsequent chime. I’m glad we paused for a second to listen, appreciating that moment listening to the passing of time together, being captured by my I-phone, please do listen to that recording here. The participant said that her Father would have been happy that the clock and its sound was bringing joy to others in this way.
In Back to the Future III Doc Emmett Brown came back to the future to meet Marty and Jennifer after the DeLorean was destroyed, he said ‘Your future is whatever you make it‘ and how we mark time, moving into the future, and in remembering the past, is individual to each and everyone of us.
If you want to join me on my journey through my PhD research; my focus is expanding towards creativity and how we use creative expression as a way of navigating and exploring grief. You can always contact me, if you wish to be involved as a participant in my research.
Over the past few months I’ve been shooting Nudes in preparation for my July Medway Open Studios Exhibition. The more I’ve done, the more fascinated I’ve become about ‘us’, about ‘people’ our aspirations, our acceptance of self and realising more and more that everything is in a constant state of flux and transition.
From my exhibition shoots (and other recent nude commissions) I’ve worked with many people that are at a various state of change, transition or flux; engagement, marriage, coping with death/illness, heart break, indifference, highs, lows. We all have elements of ourselves that we aren’t happy with; curly hair, bit of a belly, too skinny, too hairy, too tall, too short, our scars, stretch marks, post baby belly, too old.
Going through this process I’ve become more accepting of myself, as well as appreciating more that we are all fantastic and beautiful people, whose bodies are just telling a story of time, and that we should embrace this. Every person I have photographed had a story to tell about themselves, why were people more open with me during these shoots? Is ‘to be nude’ to be more thoughtful and open? All my models have all said that it had been a liberating experience, allowing them to go back to basics understanding themselves and gaining clarity in a way forward with their lives.
As Blur (in one of my favourite songs) sings:
‘And you’ve been so busy lately
That you haven’t found the time
To open up your mind
And watch the world spinning gently out of time’
So an interpretation of this song, (perhaps is to do with War), but I choose to read it as that we are so caught up in our everyday lives that we sometimes ‘need to find the time’ to become more at one with ourselves, accept who we are as time stops for no one.