Eupnea is the medical term for the effortless normal breathing pattern common to all mammals. The film Eupnea brings together several strands of research and my own life experiences to take the viewer on a surreal journey, through life, death, loss, longing and maternal desire, the uniting element being ‘the breath’.
Nightmarish at times, and humorous at others, I perform various tasks and roles that include depictions of my fever dreams of suffocation during a bout of Covid, submersion in ice, a sequence of yogic breathing exercises following instructions being read from a book published in 1919, the Saint Augustine prayer to the holy spirit whispered into a mirror onto which breath condenses, a baby made of ectoplasm slowly unravelling from the arms of a woman, hands carressing a collection of baby teeth, a pair of pig’s lungs (which are human proportions) being inflated. The sound track is a collage of journal entries, hospital, heart, and breath sounds, and voices. Life and death are two sides of the same coin, ‘The end is built into the beginning’.
The starting point for this film was my interest in Sigrid (‘Sissi’) Serlachius (1877-1944) and Ruth Serlachius (1882-1963), the first and second wives of Gösta Serlachius who was the founder of the paper mill and museum that bears his name in Mänttä, Finland. During a research trip there in 2018, I studied portraits, personal correspondence and photographs in the Museums’ collections and spoke to biographers and family members. I found threads in the lives of these two women that resonated with my own; the longing for children not yet born, the loss of loved ones, life threatening child illnesses, living life one breath at a time.
This film premiered at Serlachius Museum Gösta as part of the exhibition ‘Trish Morrissey, Autofictions, Twenty years of Photography and Film’, 2022