Slow Dip Steady Drip, detail of installation, Chicago, 2000, video still from video embedded in Corner Hutch, images and audio directing us in the fox trot, while flies buzz, drips drip and scissors clip.
Slow Dip Steady Drip
Installations by Jane Gilmor
Slow Dip Steady Drip is a series of installations exploring experiences of illness, dislocation, and eroticism. It is a shrine to the extraordinary nature of life in bed, embodying its most peculiar, ridiculous, and meaningful (less) qualities.
Small wire cages are scattered across the walls of a large room where text-covered metal pillowcases hide old feather pillows from a recently closed convent and reveal tiny video images of open mouths, songbirds, and healing touches. Inside each crudely made cage is a solitary object floats above a tiny pillow. Small pools of liquid testify to a leak from some unidentified source. Looming above is an etched metal lowered ceiling covered with my mother's scribbled requests while on a respirator and unable to speak.
My father's childhood metal baby bathtub holds a trapped video image and emits seemingly unrelated sounds. In one corner a desk is covered with laboriously hand-made metal books documenting stories of water, illness, and love. Another tiny monitor shows images of dancing couples, rushing water, and nervous hands. In the background we hear a soundtrack - our dance instructor directing us in the Foxtrot, while flies buzz, drips drip, and scissors clip.
During the past twenty years one component of my work has been a series of community-based public projects working in homeless shelters, hospitals and long-term care facilities. The new millennium these experiences connected with my own life in unexpected ways. My sister was diagnosed with cancer and my mother spent a month in Intensive care with a rare pneumonia contracted in a hospital waiting room.
In my community-based projects we concerned ourselves with those spaces where place, object, and identity intersect. In workshops and journaling, the bed in both its domestic and institutional setting became a source for memories or sounds, words and images. Endless hours in bed create a strange combination of fantasy and reality - dripping faucets, dripping IV's, dipping numbers of vital sign monitors - images of better times in better beds under better circumstances. Bed became a prison for some, a space longed for by others. In this sense, then, each wire cage in the installation serves as a portrait of a psychological and an actual space. Slow Dip Steady Drip explores the ways we give meaning to the most incidental encounters in times solitude and stress.