I got to try recording some film around my happy face idea yesterday. Paul, photographer, was good enough to allow me to use his studio. I had an hour, 9-10am, partly as that was what my day allowed and also as I didn’t want to be in there too long. I filmed it myself, so as not to within distance of Paul and to maintain distance. The background noise is not good as Paul was editing in the background and so there are only some periods where you can hear the chopping of the knife. Also my filming is crap, I didn’t frame the scene well so the top of my head is cut off in the main bit of filming.

I wanted to see if the onions would cause eye watering. They stung for sure but no eye watering. As there was no eye watering I decided towards the end to rub my face in the pile of chopped onions- maybe this would exascerbate the eye watering effect. Nope. But it felt interesting.

I would love to do this live. Maybe in a shop window? That would surely be lockdown friendly? Just getting to make it, albeit not perfectly, was a cathartic experience. I felt validated. I felt conscious, present, rooted to the spot and objective about it as I began, sat at the end of Paul’s studio, socially distanced, chopping onions with a silly smiley painted on my face. As I chopped I started to get into it and felt some flow state- the chopping of the onions was something I was able to get into and I realised it was quite challenging to do for longer periods. I was glad I had a sharp knife. I began to obsess over the cutting technique and how regularly sized the chopped up pieces were. I was able to remind myself that it didn’t matter in the slightest anyway and that if it all went to shit that would be fine too, as it was simply good to have the opportunity to make work again.

It’s about endurance- keep going. Repetition- days are on a loop right now. Domesticity- being at home being the parent and making the dinner and washing the clothes etc etc. Motherhood- and all that that means. Anxiety- like a rash creeping up your body. Madness- I feel it coming up my throat so often now. Technology-using what you have to create and to be bombarded with relentless news and imagery. Lockdown, social media- tap tap tap scroll scroll scroll. Masks- putting on a rictus smile and what our kids possibly see when we are smiling. The nuance of a smile with a threat behind it. How a smiley emoji is often thrown into a message as a way to balance, pacify, take the edge off a message. We’ve become lazy with our smiley application- is it used too much?

I probably wont get the video edited for a few days- I will have to think about how to treat the film as if I show it as a continuous strip then I will have to take out the background noise. Or add sound.