durational participatory performance: 4 days
Commission for "Couldn’t Care Less"; Deptford Lounge; London, UK. 2015
Couldn’t Care Less was a week-long live art project curated by Something Human and Vipash Purichanont, that explored the concept of ’care’ in engagement with Deptford’s multicultural community, through a series of lectures, seminars, performances and workshops.
As a new mother struggling with depression, I immediately understood that my baby’s wellbeing took priority over mine - from the perspective of those healthcare professionals who were looking after me. As a result, despite desperately wanting help to recover, I held back revealing my most troubling thoughts and feelings. It is nothing short of a stroke of luck that things did not spiral out of control for me and my family.
Drawing from this experience, I spent part of my residency with Dr Carmine Pariante (Professor of Biological Psychiatry and Head of the Stress, Psychiatry and Immunology Lab & Perinatal Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience) at King’s College London, whose team found clear links between mothers with perinatal depression being unable to adequately nurture their children, and these children in time becoming young adults who also suffer from depression.
This certainly rings true in my personal history. Hence, Oliver James’ idea of “Love Bombing” as a way to “reset children’s emotional thermostat” struck me as an appropriate approach to metaphorically break this vicious cycle of depression and neglect, by making up for our lost opportunities to be nurtured.
The Hand that Rocks the Cradle was created as a safe space for anyone who needed to be heard and "love bombed". Participants were invited to put in words thoughts and feelings that they had never before dared voice. Their anonymous texts were then sealed in palm-sized clay envelops, and fired for strength / privacy / resilience. Participants were then invited to be cocooned and rocked in a hammock for as long as they wished – as if in the womb, or a rockabye baby. On headphones, they listened to a soothing binaural soundscape created by the layering and manipulation of a full-disclosure conversation between myself and Prof Pariante.
In response to our collaboration, Prof Pariante published Seven Things Lynn Did Not Know About Pregnancy, the Postpartum, and Why She Became Depressed in The Huffington Post.
* The Hand that Rocks the Cradle was created for Couldn’t Care Less: Cross Cultural Live Art Project (CCLAP) 2015, curated by Something Human in partnership with Deptford Lounge.
Special thanks also to Dr Trudi Seneviratne (Consultant Psychiatrist and Lead Clinician, Perinatal Psychiatry, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust)
photos by: Annie Jael Kwan and David Sentosa | Copyright Something Human 2015