Daughter, Mother, Grandmother

Researcher: Meizi Zhang

The idea for 'Daughter, Mother, Grandmother' came from a paper named 'A neglected triangle' by Dr Sandra M Halperin, an American psychologist. In this paper, Halperin talks about the relationships between female members of a family - daughter, mother and grandmother.

Halpin found that middle-aged mothers who need to take care of both the grandmother and daughter, thus taking on the role of both mother and daughter themselves, are the group most under pressure within the family environment. The role of a middle-aged mother is caught between daughter and grandmother, and often neglected or even misunderstood.

Meizi's aim for this project was to transmit an emotional appeal to people, giving them a better understanding of the role of middle-aged mothers and encouraging them to pay them more attention.

When someone puts on the headset and stands in front of the screen (pictured below), the on-screen falling characters gradually change into two circles, formed by the words said to the mother by both daughter and grandmother, and accompanied by their voices. By raising either their right hand or left hand, the participant can control the characters on the screen.

Unique to this production is that, by moving their hands, the participant can control not only the poetry displayed on the screen, but also the accompanying voices: the higher the left hand is raised, the quieter the voice of the daughter becomes, and the higher the right hand, the quieter the voice of the grandmother.

By balancing their movements to control the screen, the participant interprets how a mother balances the relationships in a family. The project is designed so that the audience can only move slowly and easily, allowing them to focus on the voices and the characters on-screen.

The poetry text was created by Maya Flash. The on-screen characters fall rhythmically with the voices like snow. Traditional concrete poetry is displayed in the form of digital media, a mixture of tradition and high-tech.