Have a look through the detailed analysis of this selection of weekly videos.
It was important that nature should be a part of this collecting video. I spend a lot of time walking in nature, but often forget to appreciate its beauty, perhaps as a result of the fast paced life I'm expected to lead. Taking still shots of the natural world around me not only allowed me to take in the beauty of my local area, but aimed to remind watchers of natural spaces important to them.
Without a love and appreciation for the natural world around us, we will spiral even faster towards ecological and climate disaster. This is something I hoped to portray within the sped up walking.
Taking time and slowing down, as the video does towards the end, allows us to recognise the destruction we are having on our environment. Taking time and slowing down allows us to find and pick up litter we may not have noticed if we hadn't taken the time to look.
Maybe we just all need to slow down. Could it be that simple?
Throughout this project it has felt like the rubbish I have collected has been invading my life. This is not the case. This rubbish has always been a part of my life, it has just taken collecting and sorting through it to make it visible to me and my fellow angels.
A lot of work on these wings had to take place in my room, on my bed, a personal place that should be left for relaxing and sleeping.
Sorting this selection of litter on my bed during this video not only highlights the issue of space I have battled with throughout this project, but also complicated my own relationship with this rubbish. Often, after hiding the rubbish and falling asleep, I would find bits of cardboard or plastic packaging stuck to my skin. I could not get away from this rubbish or from this project. We cannot move ourselves away from the fact that women will be disproportionately impacted by climate change and the ecological crisis.
The trash we create is a part of our lives, no matter how hard or fast we try to hide or sort it. We need to find new ways to live with it, deal with it and think about it before we run out of time.
Cleaning my trash felt like an act of maintenance. Cleaning ensured mould and dirt did not damage or disfigure the trash. I don't think this maintenance was solely for the purpose of ensuring my wings had enough rubbish to be made. I think this cleaning also maintained my relationship to the trash. By cleaning it, ensuring its long term survival, I ensured the long term survival of me and Call Us Angels. The trash I have collected on this journey is a representation of me: my eating habits, my skincare routine, my litter picking locations. The trash I clean is not just trash, but a story of me.
Within this video it was important to highlight this relationship between me and my trash. I wanted to place emphasis on my care in the maintenance of this trash by slowing this video down and zooming into my hands as they delicately unfolded a soapy crisp packet.
The slow, cyclical moving of the trash in the bucket made me really think about the following quotation by academic Lisa Baraitser: 'maintenance [...] takes the form of suspended time but through its suspension allows the renewal of everyday life.' (2017). By taking the time to go through the slow, laborious process of cleaning the trash, suspending the fast-paced schedule of my life, my relationship to my trash was renewed. I was able to grasp and grab onto thoughts about time, climate change, and my relationship to trash in a way that would never have been possible without this slow, durational and repetitive act of maintenance.
Baraitser, Lisa. Enduring Time, London: Bloomsbury, 2017.
Lockdown has made the process of making these wings a lonely experience. Although a lot of sharing is done via the Instagram page, and conversations are started with fellow angels, I have been the only person whose hands have made these wings.
I wish other hands could have been there to help me. To laugh, cry, sing and contemplate the absurdity of making two metre wide angel wings out of trash with nothing but some bamboo sticks, old tape, a roll of string and some staples.
I miss community. I miss togetherness. This project cannot continue with the multiple 'mes' within this video. To extend this project we need to physically come together.
That might not happen within this version of the project.
But it will happen.
Putting the wings on was a slow and thoughtful process, much like the pace of the project overall. This slow and thoughtful process contrasted heavily with the anxious emotions I have felt whilst making these wings, often working overtime to make sure they were successfully completed. This moment of finally putting on the wings was the climax of these emotions. It seemed important to include both slow motion and fast paced clips within this video to represent this juxtaposition between the slow process of making and the frantic nature of my anxiety.
The voice recordings you hear in this clip are me and my mum working out how to get the wings onto my body. This was a moment of patience, delicacy and resilience as we worked through different ways of attaching the wings to my body. By videoing me moving in never ending, repetitive circles, I hope to remind myself and fellow angels of this difficult and demanding process of trying to put the wings on for the very first time.
The honest joy that I felt when we succeeded was something I needed to share in this video. Slowly working my way through the ups and downs of this project often left me despondent and anxious that the wings would never come to fruition - worries that I often shared on my vlogs and weekly videos. To be able to share this footage of me wearing the wings for the very first time proved to myself, and fellow angels, that this project was not a waste of time. We can do it. Making angel wings out of trash is possible. Maybe then tackling the relationship between gender the ecological crisis won't be impossible either...
The final weekly videos of Call Us Angels coincided with the release of the physical instructions on the website. I wanted these weekly videos to give a sneak peak into the actual instructions, in the hope that it might intrigue angels to go and find them on the website. This is why I took the audio from each instruction video, made specifically for the instruction pages on the website, and included it in these weekly videos.
I also thought it important to use video clips from each different stage. This particular clip was from the cleaning stage. Within it I carefully clean plastic packaging, listening to the bubbles the plastic makes in the water, making me laugh as the bubbles start to splash me. I wanted to include this sequence as it not only highlighted the care I took to clean each individual bit of trash, but also the fun I had with the project.