HULL; (2013); Tara Merenda Nelson; TRT: 7.22
A journey between layers of corporal consciousness, exploring the physical memory of trauma, and the psychological repercussions of a surgical disaster.
Your reason for creating this work:
At the age of 34 I had surgery that resulted in the unexpected loss of my uterus. Since the surgery, the psychological relationship I have to my body has changed. My body remembers things my mind cannot. Hull is an attempt to recover what was lost.
Can you tell us how this film came about?
In 2009 I had surgery to remove fibroid tumors from my uterus. The surgeon was confident that the surgery would be “routine”, but there were complications. I hemorrhaged and lost a tremendous amount of blood. I also lost my uterus. I was 34 years old. After this happened I was haunted by memories of the surgery, though I could not really remember anything. It was as if my body were remembering what had happened, and slowly revealing the experience to my conscious mind. I made HULL as a way to honor my body-memory, and to manifest the memories I could feel but could not see.
Do you want to say anything about the body, or illness, or the female body?
Fertility and infertility are powerful forces in the lives of women. These issues are treated as ailments in our culture, rather than concerns of humanity. I am interested in how fertility shapes a womans’ identity, and how infertility changes that identity.
Is there anything else you want to say about your creative process?
I had a completely different aesthetic in mind for HULL, but during production I realized that something was wrong — my conscious mind was not paying attention to my subconscious. So I stopped “planning” what I would shoot and let my body guide me towards objects. I never would have chosen to work with dolls or toys, but they were the objects that felt most accurate to me. Later I realized that this film was a form of play-therapy, like the process that children go through as they have experiences in the world that they don’t understand. Each object in Hull plays a very specific role, and I am still deciphering the code that I invented to help myself remember.