Doll-Play

These images are part of a series in contemplation of ‘doll-play’. Our eldest son played with dolls a little bit and our youngest son treats them with what can only be described as disdain. But our girls engage in play with dolls that is immersive, that doesn’t look like ‘play’ as such. Barely out of the womb, our young girls interact with dolls as if they are experienced mothers. They dress, undress, talk to, sing with, breastfed, carry, put to bed, feed, all with great care and intensity of purpose. The passage below from Elisabeth von Samsonow contemplates the significance of this girl-doll-play that this series explores:

"When the girl brings her physical ability of producing bodies into action, she plays. In this way she anticipates birth in play. She plays production with suitable means. Intimately feeling kinship in a theatrical way, she embraces objects that for her represent the born body as a substitute. The girl is the master of doll play, which is a three-dimensional (plastisch) body play, an artful play, an object play. She is the master of the living sculpture, a first-class sculptress. As a result, the problem of birth does not arise in the relationship between mother and child in a real dimension, but as an aesthetic and technical problem within the manufacture of three-dimensional stuff. The girl fantasises that ‘children’ soon to appear are within her. Therefore she simulates acts according to them already being within her."

von Samsonow, Elisabeth, ‘Anti-Electra: Totemism and Schizogamy’, in Deleuze and Contemporary Art Eds Stephen Zepke and Simon O'Sullivan, Edinburgh University Press 2010 246-256