I was asked by The Bowery Art Gallery in Leeds to create an installation the only request was that I work with narrative.
This is an experimental documentary piece, this story references my experiences of caring for my mum while she was ill with throat cancer. To tell this story I referenced the dualities of my mother's voice and that of the ocean.
In the womb we detect our mother’s voice as the most significant. Everything else registers as ambient sound. The importance and security of this was put under threat for me six years ago when my mum was given the diagnosis of throat cancer. The first treatments were laser surgery, with each operation her voice diminished. In 2014 the doctors finally decided she would under go intense radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
There were many moments of unbearable silences. My mum couldn’t talk. I waited.
In that waiting we regularly drove to the coast. Standing watching the waves she was grateful to witness and reconnect to the natural world. The waves offered an escape and understanding, the ocean tumbling in, a chaos and calm. Pulling us in and under. The horizons line our hope and stability.
I spent months caring for my mum waiting to hear her voice again. Days were spent in a dreamlike state. This film revisits this state and the raw emotions and numbness I fluctuated between whilst being a carer. I wanted to embody the closeness and forced distance you alternate between when caring for someone. Through close and distant visuals and through sound both audible and inaudible confusion. I also wanted embody through film a human connection to the ocean and the remarkable power the human body has to heal- a part of nature.
My mother’s treatments were successful. This is documented with the use of interviews with her speech therapist.
There are reports that a cure for prostate cancer has been found in the deep sea, in bacteria at the bottom of the seabed. It is in the preliminary testing phase with a 50% success rate.
The therapy involves injecting a light sensitive drug into the bloodstream. It is made from bacteria that live on the ocean floor and are adept at converting any light into high intensity energy, which then kills prostate cancer cells without harming normal tissue. I now wonder what other cures the Ocean holds.
“To date, we have explored less than 5% of the ocean. Much remains to be learned from exploring the mysteries of the deep. The ocean is the lifeblood of Earth, covering more than 70% of the planet's surface, driving weather, regulating temperature, and ultimately supporting all living organisms.”
Our eyes always search toward the horizon naturally. What is underneath in the depths is largely unknown, a place of magic and fear and glowing sea creatures circling through the deep. There are now claims for mapping the ocean floor, a study to seek out the earth’s potential. I have tried to encapsulate this awe and wonder of the natural world into the film. I also wanted to embrace the idea of our interconnectedness.