Self Sufficiency / The idea that you are working things out alone

Raising a Resister
‘Raising a Resister’ is a video tape that you can put on and off. It can be played on a small TV at home or where you have one, or it could be played through a video projector in a larger room, like a cinema. It could be broadcast on TV or via the internet. It is quite self-contained.

The content of the video is based on certain texts that I have been working on and have been reading, which reflect my interest in a feminist, psychological and philosophical language, in the video it is spoken through an actors voice. I have used video material gleaned from the Lambeth Women’s Project in addition to new video that I shot. I worked closely with Marina Vishmidt who appears in the video, and performs the voiceover and edited the video with me in her character. It is almost like there are several versions of this video that could be made, so I am still working on that premise, I am still making other versions.

The Script of ‘Raising a Resister’ by Emma Hedditch
Much of the video is low quality image, and records activities undertaken by a group of girls such as ‘role-play’ telephone conversations, to rock climbing. The new video footage records Carol (played by Marina) who can’t decide between isolation and becoming part of a group.

C = Carol played by Marina Vishmidt.
E = Emma played by Emma Hedditch

There is some music that is quiet and melodic. Pictures of girls at around 11 and 12 years, in clothes that are the kind you wear when you mostly wear a school uniform, but for some evenings and weekends you chose your own clothes, from a limited range.

C. Look that’s me there, there I am with the Brown Hair.

C. No there I am, him, no there were no hims.

C. Really (Coughs)

C. At home...yes I still get a rash, but it is only...I think because I insist on washing with really hot water...

C. Sorry...I forgot, hmm...but there were no hims. Colour pictures of the same girls, climbing a climbing wall. Other girls are watching from the ground wearing thin nylon jackets.

C. It’s odd because I am sure I was...I mean I really remember looking up at that larger woman, and the smaller woman there with the harness, with the glasses. You see I think I was there but I am not on the picture...I was watching from behind the woman there on the bench that’s me. There behind her...I remember looking up at the climbing wall, and the helmet I was wearing seemed really heavy.


Black and white photos of four Asian girls on a beach collecting shells, It’s windy.

C. And the sweater there that she is wearing, she had it because it complemented her helped to emphasise the top part of her body. It was never that was raining a lot, they actually showed us a marker for the water level in the river.

C. You mean strong physically...? Well I am good at sustained walking, endurance, you know long distance walks, but not at lifting things. I could walk for miles though, I am good at pacing myself...a beginner and an ender. But no not lifting, the helmet was heavy it made my head pull over the way.

C. No I can’t swim...

Black and white photos of two older women, in between them are two younger girls, it is like they are superimposed over one another.

C. Sorry...not ‘the’ leader, you see her, Margaret, she was the leader. I don’t really think of myself...alone...more as part of a team...not at all, it would be hard for me...but physically, no I don’t think I could do some things. I mean I can do this for example (there is a pause and a shuffling noise, and perhaps a grunt) There is quite a lot of lateral movement there, with the left arm which sort of balances the rest of my body, it basically stops me from falling over...and it also really helps with pointing towards the direction that the ball is actually going to move.

There is a video sequence of an older woman shot from a distance in the park from behind. The park is a wide expanse of grass. The woman has a number of dogs, some are larger than others, one in particular is very small. She is wearing a big green jacket and the dogs are all running around her, occasionally she throws a twig or something and they run off but they always come back and she let’s them individually lick her fingers. It cuts to pink blossom on a tree, and then to a cat in a doorway, licking the floor, and then another cat with a dark shadow.

C. What body? I mean which part of the body, the foot, leg, arms...the whole thing? It’s there, I mean I know it’s there, I could see my shadow, only I don’t feel it, I don’t feel it at any particular time of the day, whether there is a shadow or not.

We are in a Gymnasium, in front with her back to us, she has her hands behind the back of her head, and is turning left to right. In front of her, but for us, behind her, is a small girl, on a treadmill, smiling, wearing inappropriate clothes for this kind of exercise. The walls are very green, in fact the whole room has a green tinge. Alongside on an exercise bike, the view moves to a girl wearing a black and pink shell suit and then a girl on a rowing machine.

C. Hi, it’s me...ok, yes I am ok...and you? good...but listen, could you do something for me? There is this picture that I have sent through to you, but I am worried that I may have sent the wrong one. Could you check that nothing has come up on the screen, if something has could you tell me what it is...could you describe it ?


C. It’s no use, there was no way I could talk to this woman on the phone, it was an emotional issue for me. I wrote her a letter, explaining why I was so upset. I even sent her pictures that illustrated what she had done. I put a card in with the letter, with a stamp on it, that she could fill in to tell me she was sorry, with tick boxes.

Image changes to a girl, trying to do role play with a telephone.

E. Did you get any response?

C. No I did not hear from her until roughly 3 weeks later, she sent me the card, she crossed out the part that said I am sorry with a marker pen, and wrote complaining that her bank had charged her, because I had stopped the payment to her account. She said I still owed her, which led me to believe that she knew she had made a mistake.

E. You originally gave her 25, she gave you 24 of them, while she worked on the other one, didn’t you have time if you had wanted to, to look at the 24?

C. No I didn’t have time, I was babysitting him in the back room.

E. When you came home that night and started to put it all together, did you realise that there had been a mistake?

C. I already explained that.

E. Did you at any time pick up the phone and tell her?

Girls Dancing.

C. No it could not be fixed, she couldn’t fix it, I didn’t want to talk to her, I didn’t want to get into a conversation with her about it. I knew that if I called her she would start talking about something else. I got the photos developed in an hour so I could send them straight away.

E. When did the infraction take place?

C. Three years ago.

E. And you haven’t seen her since then?

C. No, I couldn’t face her.

E. How did you work out how much she owed you?

C. Well, I added up the time it took, and all the expenses incurred and multiplied it three times. It’s not even an estimation of the true value. But it’s the only system I know, and have used with regard to the value of this kind of work.

It is a small room, with wood chip paper, and a sloping roof, there is a low table and a girl sitting at it drawing, occasionally she looks up.

C. She was thought to have been born to a family earlier this century. She was a baby playing out in the garden, near her parent’s remote home, when she was stolen by a she-wolf who carried her away, (the wolf probably clutched her in it’s teeth) Her parents searched for her, but they could not find her.

Probably she survived by suckling the mother wolf as the cubs did, until she grew big enough to fend for herself. Years later, stories spread around the village of a ghost-like creature prowling with the wolf-pack at night.

The local pastor investigated the situation. He found that instead of a ghost there was a girl with filthy matted hair. She ran on all fours, and snarled, baring her teeth. When she was captured she crouched in the corner of the yard into which she was locked and howled at the moon.

It took many months before she was able to change from animal, to human ways. Gradually she learned to like day time better than night, she learned to kneel at the table. It was difficult at first to stand, or even kneel as her knees were very stiff. She learned to eat cooked meat and to refuse to eat raw, dead animals, she stopped howling and became more friendly. Gradually she began to walk upright, imitating the other humans, learned a few words and started wearing clothes. She died 10 years later. One could hazard a guess, that the strain of change was too great.

She had been kept with her Grandfather in an upstairs room, given just enough attention to keep her alive. When they found her, her clothes and bedding were filthy and she was not able to walk, or talk or do anything that showed intelligence. All she could do was to lie quietly, without responding to anything around her.

When they found her, she received some skilled help, and learned to say a few words and walk a few steps, although she was clumsy when she ran. Those in charge decided to train her in a very systematic way. By the age of eight she was normal, which means that she had made up for her six lost years, in the short time of two and a half years.

C. Well I went over there, and sort of took her ear. I kind of took her over to some other part of the room, where the other friends couldn’t hear, and I said, this is making me feel bad for leaving me out, can you please play with me too. That I will just go home if you don’t, because this is making me feel bad.

E. Have you tried that?

C. Yeah, but she just said go home. They don’t really care, they don’t really care, they just leave, they just don’t talk to me. They whisper in each other’s ear, saying things about me. It will take a couple of weeks to understand it, could you give me a couple of weeks?
I would have a friend over, and also have her over. I would show her how I felt. If we were ‘even’, then we could start being friends again, she would have to know and experience how hurt I felt. This knowledge is necessary for our relationship to continue.

E. And if it happened again?

C. Sometimes things seemed to be going really well, and then she would say something that everybody likes, apart from me, and I feel like they really won’t want me to do this. They don’t want me around, because I don’t have good ideas. I get afraid to say it, I get afraid to say, I hate you.

C. It terrifies me, because they might tell somebody else, and then before you know it, all the other people know, maybe ten of them. It doesn’t feel good, I feel that, that it is really turning into a whole mess. I mean if it is like this now what is it going to be like in ten years time?

How would you feel if your life looked like that?

There is a drawing of a circle of friends, with a stick man in the middle. Then Carol is drawing out a diagram of how she is going to achieve certain errands for the day. Then she is on her errands in the park, in the woods, and in the street and she keeps noticing graffiti which says, ‘Carol likes to stay up late’, ‘Carol is at home’, ‘Carol never learnt how to use a VCR’, ‘Carol decided today was the first day of the rest of her life’, ‘Carol, I am real’.

Emma Hedditch, Copenhagen May 2001