In Stigmata, Helen Cixous, makes analysis of Clarice Lispector's text The Message, the sentence at the end of the text reads ...'Mama, he said'. As the word 'Mama' is written with out an exclamation mark, Cixous writes ...
'The fact that there is no exclamation point does not mean there is no exclamation. What living being can say mama without making the call resonate more or less clearly? Whoever says 'Mama' calls for help.'
The idea that my children's words were punctuated by invisible exclamation points became fascinating to me, the possibility that a 'non cry' with out punctuation was perhaps more demanding or more 'disturbing' in Cixous' words that a shout. The motif of the non-present exclamation mark began to represent the all pervasiveness of my children demands after the birth of my third child. On researching the history of the exclamation point I learned that in the 15th century it was called a 'note of admiration' and used then to refer more to excitement and wonderment than demands and surprise – I chose to re-frame my children's demands in this way.
Works include; A soundwork made in response to Cixous text, vials of handmade pigment made from grasses and flowers collected on walks with my children and a series of six small watercolour paintings, made to record the multiple absent exclamation marks present in my children's communication. The paintings are made with light sensitive plant pigment so will fade over time.