4 generations – welcoming a new addition

This year I return to the filming of 4 generations of women with a new addition – my 10 month old baby daughter, while my 16 year old prefers to stay in London. The dynamic in the 4 generations has therefore shifted. Additionally, the demands of a small baby, with her need for naps, mirroring my grandmother’s siestas, make the filming even more challenging in terms of finding a suitable window of time. However, despite these difficulties, I feel the importance of continuing this annual tradition of creating a small family ritual.

I felt that it made sense to continue the thread of the previous films, in particular last year’s Water Rituals, which is where we left off last summer. The aim this year was the performance of a simple ritual involving a “baptism” with water.
I also wanted to bring in a sequences which would mirror From You to Me, which I filmed here in 2015. This time, rather than a symbolic object (cake), we were to carry a real embodiment of the re/generation of the female line, the new baby girl.

I have decided to revisit the locations of the filming, such the small garden behind my parents’ house, where we prepared our cake in 2015, and this time we dressed here for our ritual of welcoming the new baby. To connect all the women and also to bring in the reality of the modern family, divided by distance and connected by technology, we also called my older daughter on FaceTime. She was in Greece at the time.

We also shot sequences in the forest, but most importantly we returned to the lake where last year I swam with my 8 month old bump. It was only after watching the footage of emerging from the lake, with my new baby in arms, that I was struck by the way time moves circularly, like a three dimensional spiral (just like the one in the house of my growing up, or the DNA structure?), so that we return to same locations in space and season, but never quite the same place in time. The alterations, brought into a relief by the reoccurring motifs, is what fascinates me. My whole 4 Generations of Women is a meditation on this spiral, and my work brings me the privilege of observing a small segment of it.

Tereza Stehlikova, August 2019

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