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Dee Matthews – Week 2 – The Black Suitecase.

Is it going to be like this every week? The Friday seminar was great, like therapy…art therapy.

So much to think about so many neural connections made.

Equally the feedback is so revealing!

Why did I put my received social media responses to my art in a list?

My thoughts were to collate all the information, snip them into sentences or individual words, then pluck them out of a Dada black bag during a live performance, announce each response, to give voice to them.

Why didn’t I put that in this digital notebook, was I saving that information? Had I not committed fully to that in an artistic sense? So much secrecy within Everyday Pain.

Could I present that information in different ways?

I was adapting it from the written to the spoken in my mind but could it also be visual, could I read it out aloud now and film it? Could I write it out on something and make that Dada bag? If I did would I feel differently about it?

The definition of hope being a rag doll or depression being the Raven waiting, is so immediately visual or it is in my mind, I have to try other ways…Is there any need to list the responses in the notebook? Does a painter list their subject matter or the brushes used? I need to explore these ideas more.


I loved the conscious stream drawing during the Friday seminar, it changes how you view the information received.


It’s like hearing throat chanting during meditation. Where the visceral vibrating sound removes the distraction of complex thought.

I managed only once to achieve full detachment during a Kapa Bhadra Buddhist-guided black-and-white meditation, it lasted seconds, it was enough and extremely scary.


This leads me on to talk about my ‘in class’ choice of, Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles.1975. Here Chantal Akerman explores the issues of an ordinary woman who seems embroiled in some transcendental state as she performs the most mundane household chores. Akerman shows us the rhythmic dreary everyday existence of a single mother, who with ever-spiralling OCD neurotic vigour undertakes the ordinary, wishing to forget the shame of having to resort to prostitution to make ends meet. She solicits afternoon sex from paying customers to provide for her child. Eventually, over the three days, these rhythmic tasks and the hypnotic state they induce crumbles and Jeanne’s world unravels to its sexual and dramatic climax.


Akerman was hailed as a feminist filmmaker something she didn’t enjoy and that obviously irritated her. She is quoted as saying, ‘When people ask me if I am a feminist filmmaker, I reply I am a woman and I also make films.’

The British film institute says, ‘For almost 50 years, until her suicide on 5 October 2015, Chantal Ackerman was one of the cinema’s most original postwar auteurs.’


This film appears in several top 100 films of all time. It is more than a film or a piece of Art cinema it is a deep and meaningful commentary on the economic and emotional divide between the sexes and its ultimate transaction.


Akerman is still as relevant and probably her legacy is more highly regarded than ever before, the old adage of you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Her suicide just after her mother’s death and her meticulous dark psyche may have stemmed from Children of the Holocaust trauma which is better understood and recognised in the 21st century. Whatever the reason, which remains unknown, her Jewish heritage and it’s schmaltz remained with her to the end.


Writing in the Jewish online magazine Forward Henry Bean says:


‘She was a gay woman – proudly, unabashedly – who refused to be placed in either category, would not show her work in “gay” or “women’s” festivals, (“I won’t be ghettoized like that”) but never refused the ghetto of Judaism, and would always show in Jewish festivals. She was, it sometimes seemed, a Jew before she was anything, even before she was a person, and she was more of a person than anybody I’ve known.’


My second film choice was tricky as I loved the ‘hotel’ films having spent a large portion of my early adult life ‘living out’ of a ‘suitcase’ flying from one place to another, one hotel room to the next.


I remember waking up in a hotel room and seeing the time on my watch as 5 o’clock, I rang up reception and asked, ‘could you please tell me what time it is please?’


The concierge replied, ‘its 5 o’clock mam’


‘yes I realise that, but is that am or pm? and can you tell me what city I am in please?’

It took me 5 years to eventually unpack my suitcase after I stopped flying, I’d even moved house and had two babies before my husband said, ‘are you ever going to unpack that case, I am wondering if you are planning to stay?’ I did unpack my case but I didn’t stay!


My huge black Samsonite Piggy-back Roller suitcase reminded me of the visual protagonist of the film I chose to research which is John Smith RA, The Black Tower, 1987. IMDb describes the film, ‘A man finds himself haunted by a mysterious black tower that appears to follow him wherever he goes.’


The black tower is more a black shape that looks like, well my suitcase with a roof on it. Ultra black, it absorbs all light and it becomes clear that he is the only one to see this new structure. His everyday dialogue has some interesting twists he casually mentions his prison visit which is obviously a undramatic occurrence for him but the ‘tower’ follows him everywhere….

Other colours interplay and he eventually returns to black and becomes reclusive and not wanting to go outside running low on food he would pop out to the ice cream van and lived off choc ices. Thinking this was probably not healthy he would have the odd strawberry mivvie for health reasons. This all resonated with me because if I get a bowel blockage my go to is choc ices in summer or consommé in winter, maybe I should go for a strawberry mivvie for the healthier choice.

That dark humour in the most dreadful and final sense I adored… as I did the sad conclusion as he entered the black door into the tower… and his visitor to his grave just like him says, ‘I first noticed it…’

Smith’s work of over 60 films and instillation examines the gallows humour of his Walthamstow roots. A gritty no BS drollery I recognise from my husband’s family. Smith’s artistic heritage is as located as much as Akerman’s. Which leads me to question my own practice, do we acquire our own artistic identity or are we born with it? Or do we simply have to recognise it existence and not deny its presence.




I had my covid jab on Saturday and spent the the last 5 days with heart palpitations, sweats, sickness and achy joints as per usual it’s especially annoying as I was told the mask stays on as the rates are increasing with ‘people like me’ dying everyday from covid and I’m still at risk, what’s the point in the bloody jab then… well apparently belt and braces… there’s a cartoon in that somewhere, and I made it. However, when I posted it on YouTube as with the others films it was taken down? Here it is below, bots are funny beings….

I had a break from posts Thursday, Friday and Saturday but did get one up on Sunday about drinking to mask everyday pain and I didn’t get one response that’s interesting?


On Monday I put a post about emotional pain using the pee cartoon.. so yes it’s emotional but it’s also embarrassing I’m going to switch that around with an emotional cartoon and talking about embarrassment… I’m playing around with visual against word communication.


I posted the full drinking cartoon complete with glugging wine …. Still no response after 150 view on FB and Instagram. Videos do better on TikTok 751 ‘hearts’ for the walking in the sea one so I will post the drinking one there and see what happens.


At what point do I stop posting? When they stop responding? Bedwyr often responds to his own posts…


No, I will weep no more. In such a night

To shut me out? Pour on; I will endure.

In such a night as this? O Regan, Goneril!

Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all—

O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;

No more of that.


(King Lear, Act-III, Scene-IV, Lines-17-22)


These notes seem to be posing more questions than answers and I stated to think I’ll have to make a list otherwise I’ll forget….

Arr there we have it, the answer, it’s not a list, it’s a checklist and I didn’t even know it!!!

A checklist from an aircraft, it’s how I fly the plane, how I deal with my life.. Right I’m off to make that Dada bag….or write some words on lollipop sticks…. or make a real checklist…


or screenshot the replies and add them to a animated film….

This is the start of the ‘Hope’ short here Pat picks up his forlorn hope of a hip replacement what happens next you’ll have to wait for next week!

Btw, the huge black Samsonite suitcase containing an entire collection of 747-400 technical and flying manuals is now buried in a deep hole I dug with a JCB in an undisclosed location in mid-Wales…

I thought it would be an interesting find for some archaeologist one day…..

1 thought on “Dee Matthews – Week 2 – The Black Suitecase.”

  1. haha about the suitcase! what a shame its buried I was getting excited about its role in all of this, can you find it and dig it up!? ok heres todays question – why is the voice that of your little 3 year old girl self? does it work? if so why, if not why not? great the question to the list of responses bought out the case, the dada case, yes make them visual, something, part of it. I sense a little disappointment in the lessening of responses to the SM posts, one must not loose confidence because of peoples whimsical, distracted, totally ad hoc responses or absence of responses to SM posts. but it does lead you to planning and making posts more consciously which is a good thing, ask should it be one a week, less or more..what is your SM long term strategy? Bedwyr has been doing his posts for a long time, and is an international best seller so maybe not the best person to compare yourself with! have a look at ‘twigsaints’ on Instagram, artist Chris Kenny posts a stick man a day, interesting to see his ‘likes’ range between 30 – 50 ish everyday, so a consistent following, from posting everyday for years!

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