A spiral bound open journal on a wooden table reads, "manifesto for maternal Art 2016. 19th October 2016. Day 4. Why go on saying that? Why keep doing it? And yet again. day 1. Action: I walk around Tavistock Square on 19th Oct slightly before 11am. Tavistock square where Virginia Woolf made up To the Lighthouse "in a great, apparently involuntary, rush". I re-read first 3 chapter, Mrs Ramsey, her 8 children, James, the little one, who is told by Mr Ramsey "No going to the lighthouse James". It won't be fine. It's not fine. It will never be fine. We are..."

The following is an excerpt from Manifesto for Maternal Performance (Art) 2016! written by the project’s investigators Lena Šimić & Emily Underwood-Lee (2017) and published in Performance Research (22:4). It is a manifesto for maternal performance born of practice, the ideas shared here birthed over a forty day period of making and journal writing; a maternal methodology to mirror the forty-week gestation period during which a human mother carries their child.

Day 1a. Maternal performance should always be born of action, of possibility, of making, of creativity. It should always be natal.

Day 1b. Maternal performance must be assertive and courageous; in our maternal performance we must not be led astray by self-doubt.

Day 1c. Maternal performance must acknowledge the personal and subjective to present a deeper sense of lived experience.

Day 2. Maternal performance relies on the other.

Day 3a. Maternal performance must allow us to create and enact ‘away time’, ‘dead time’, ‘me time’, ‘no time’, ‘waste time’, ‘swim time’, ‘read time’, ‘write time’, ‘unpack time’.

Day 3b. Maternal performance must make visible the struggles.

Day 3c. Maternal performance must be a provocation.

Day 4a. Maternal performance should not aspire to likeability. It should be honest, kind and brave and speak truthfully.

Day 4b. Maternal performance must engage in details, in pleasure and in stealing babies in the early morning, grabbing them from their cots and covering them with kisses.

Day 4c. Maternal performance must carve out time.

Day 4d. Maternal performance is patient, but it must act on instinct and seize a moment.

Day 4e. Maternal performance pushes us elsewhere.

Day 5. Maternal performance surpasses the human.

Day 6. Maternal performance happens in the night with vomit and wee and poo poo explosions, with screams and fear and a bloated tummy and smelly eggy burps. Maternal performance smells.

Day 7a. Maternal performance is immersive, immediate and immanent.

Day 7b. Maternal performance matters.

Day 8. Maternal performance loves.

Day 9. Interruption.

Day 10. Interruption.

Day 11. Maternal performance must make some space in the theatre to welcome the children.

Day 12. Maternal performance must put the mother centre stage – explore her complexity and foreground her reality.

Day 13. Matternal [sic] performance must stage a certain kind of invisibility of the subject, for the sake of the other, not as an act of sacrifice but as an act of generosity.

Day 14. Maternal performance is private; there are thoughts, feelings, actions and moments we want to keep to ourselves.

Day 15. Maternal performance calls us to the limit, but it also stops us in our tracks. It’s a push–pull machine. It teases. It stretches. It gives and takes away.

Day 16. Maternal performance is an embarrassment to our children.

Day 17a. Maternal performance is about letting go of control.

Day 17b. Maternal performance is about confrontation.

Day 18. Maternal performance is preoccupied with middle age, moving into decline and failure, the death of optimism.

Day 19a. Maternal performance is about constant management of disappointments and expectations; it is stuck in-between negotiation and manipulation; it includes outbursts of anger and frustration.

Day 19b. Maternal performance happens in the immanent sphere – there is no transcendence.

Day 20. Interruption.

Day 21a. Maternal performance is full-time and overtime and non-stop and relentless.

Day 21b. Maternal performance is unable to make whole and complete and document itself.

Day 21c. Maternal performance is a machine with its own logic and demands.

Day 22. Maternal performance refuses.

Day 23. Maternal performance collapses representation into action.

Day 24. Interruption.

Day 25. Maternal performance confronts the expected.

Day 26. Maternal performance is in a constant state of collapse.

Day 27a. Maternal performance others.

Day 27b. Maternal performance makes visible the social and institutional positioning of the mother.

Day 28. Maternal performance requires our bodies, it does not acquire independence, is not released into the world without us.

Day 29. Interruption.

Day 30. Interruption.

Day 31. Interruption.

Day 32. Interruption.

Day 33. Interruption.

Day 34a. Maternal performance feeds on neglect.

Day 34b. Maternal performance, made with, for and about our children and our mothers, can resist the status quo and propose alternative ways of being together.

Day 35. Maternal performance making is a kind of distraction, a necessary getaway from the daily. And yet that escape bleeds into the daily; it occupies it and makes it useful.

Day 36a. Maternal performance goes over it again and again, we repeat ourselves, repeat our mothers, and our feminist mothers and our performance mothers. We must be haunted by our mothers and our children. We must repeat actions daily. We must remake again and again.

Day 36b. Maternal performance must be in the world, our performance must make us visible.

Day 37. Interruption.

Day 38. Interruption.

Day 39. Maternal performance invents its own discourse and discloses its methodology.

Day 40. Maternal performance manifests.

Lena Šimić & Emily Underwood-Lee (2017) Manifesto for Maternal Performance (Art) 2016!, Performance Research, 22:4