This work explores female lineage and its cultural connection to domestic labor. Traditionally, cultural practices are primarily preserved by women through domestic and craft activities. These labor-intensive activities are performed even by senior members of the family, often seen doing so while hunching their backs and in squatting position. The squat is a sign of a working class that is for physical labor but it is also a position of mobility. It is a position that is in rest but is quick to move. Within ageing, I believe that my grandmother does not see this is as hard labor but instead a labor of love. Unlike her friends who are growing weaker, my grandmother is healthy, agile and strong. Making this rice wine and teaching my mother and I how to make this strengthens our familial bond. The making of the rice wine is a gift that is homemade, it nourishes the future generations. Arguing against Western perception of domesticity, I propose a more macro interpretation of domestic work and highlights its paramount significance in cultural preservation.
I am interested in the invisible labor that exists in the household. With the increase of dependency on imported domestic workers from Philippines and Indonesia, Singaporeans has become more complicit to the dependency on domestic workers that home making skills is becoming a lost skill. Although the work of my grandmother in the household is a labor of love whilst the work of domestic workers is a wage labor, both types of work are invisible labor that is not recognized in the house.
In this endurance performance, Squat, I squatted for 22 minutes – the longest time I could squat for. I investigate the bodily memory of the squat and how the squat is a posture for labor. In the performance, I am in a posture of labor but no work is produced. I sewed a top and pants that resembled the clothing that my grandmother wore in the photographs. The garment was also made up of 8 good morning towels in total - leaving no waste in the pattern cutting. These ‘Good morning towels’ are towels that are typically used in the household as rags. The material significance to culture and labor was important to me. I used these towels to sew a spinal cord that is soft so that I could wear it on my back as seen the image below.