Partus (birth) is a film installation and live performance commissioned for PLATFORM by visual artist Ruth Jones in collaboration with electronic composer Andy Wheddon
Partus takes as a starting point a CTG scan of a medicalised labour and birth and echoes the altered experience of time that being in labour induces, linking the project to Jones’ on going exploration of liminal or threshold states.
The live performance took place at Saint Mary’s Church on Thursday 27th October, Haverfordwest and a film installation version was shown over the three days at the former Archive Building.
The performance combined electronic samples and the live voices of improvisational singers Maggie Nicols and Emily Laurens, taking the audience on an immersive journey through harmonic vibrations and rhythmic primal beats of one of life’s great transitions – birth.
Rural places are often the starting point for Ruth Jones to create spaces where threshold or liminal experiences can occur. Her film installations and events use ritual patterns to draw audiences into a contemplation of place, presence and rhythm.
Andy Wheddon uses homemade electronic instruments combined with field recordings, synthesisers and computers to create his music. His sound is organic; drum ‘n’ bass beats are deconstructed into decaying textures.
A selection of audience comments from the live performance
“Superintense and engaged all of the complexities of childbirth…Original. Brave, and a piece of art I will remember”
“It was a powerful performance especially given the acoustics of the church. I was very aware of the building up of tension and intensity of sound which reverberated around the space at key points. It brought about a feeling of being immersed in the intensity of the birth experience and the sense of calm and relief expressed towards the end was palpable. The atmosphere, silence and candlelight in the church was beautifully set up”.
A selection of audience comments from the film installation
Of Pembrokeshire, in Pembrokeshire. Beautiful piece of work. Mournful and melancholic.
Mesmerising and powerful
Fantastic! Transforming and transformative. Beautiful. Thank you.
So moving and surprising, not the subject matter I expected from the title and info.
Thought this was a really wonderful, sublime piece of work. I felt that the shots of the lighthouse from inside were great (for want of a better word). Having seen Partus Live I have to say that I found this film and the combination of images and the quality of footage mixed with the slickness of sound really, really worked amazingly, and for me it was so much less intense than the performance and more accessible because of the visual emotive and ethereal images which appoint a sense of melancholy in the landscape the sea and waves and light that I absolutely LOVED. In the performance in the church at one point I felt I had to leave because it was too intense for me. This film, however, is something I want to see again and again. Wonderful!
I thought that the Archive building was architecturally an amazing space to show the work and it worked very well on many levels. I loved the industrial feel to the spaces, and they were ideal for video installation.
I would love to be involved with any further projects like this in Haverfordwest. It would be great to be able to build on the audience that it attracted, and offer more regular events and exhibitions – Ruth Jones