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Clare Qualmann



Perambulator is an ongoing artwork that explores gendered spaces, maternal narratives and shifting identities, inequality and mobilities. Begun in 2012 in response to my experience of pushing my son in his pram the work has developed over the last decade, evolving with each of my children and my shifting relationship with my parental mobility/immobility.

Perambulator Covid Walks, 2021

In Perambulator Covid Walks 2021 I performed a series of walks in the pandemic-empty City of London with my 3-year-old in the pram. Together we enacted and re-enacted moments of parental performance exploring the conjunctions between our bodies, our mobility tools and the finance-dominated topography. In earlier phases of the artwork the pram felt like an encumbrance, a hindrance that limited my mobility. This perception flipped under covid-19 restrictions when only local walking was permitted, and the pram meant that we could roam further than the streets immediately surrounding our flat: as far as the city one mile away. It became a brilliant mobility assistant rather than impediment. These images were made in correspondence with the artist Claire Hind, who conducted simultaneous walks in Ravenscar North Yorkshire.


Perambulator New York Drift, 2018

In Perambulator New York Drift, 2018 I spent a week exploring the limits of New York City for the pram. Conceived as a counterpoint to work that I made in Huntly, Scotland in 2014 (see below) I walked the city recording photographically the ‘edges’, the places past which I could not push. These walks were punctuated by subway journeys involving heroic acts of lifting and carrying, and characterised by the details of textures and materials of the streets’ structures: cobbles, ruts, and potholes to jam wheels, jar wrists and jolt over. The images I made were shared live through a takeover of the Edgework Project Instagram feed.

Perambulator Pram Naps, 2016

In Perambulator Pram Naps, 2015-2016 I attempted to capture the everyday parental performances of trying to get my daughter to sleep in the pram. Unlike her older brother who needed the pram’s motion to nap, she preferred to sleep in her bed, a proclivity that was not often possible to accommodate with our other needs. In order for us to be able to go out, or stay out, I had to get her to sleep in the pram. These images present our immobility, in preparation for getting on the move: the prerequisite for going and doing things. These images were exhibited in ‘Labors: An Exhibition Exploring the Complexities of Motherhood’ at Pearl Conard Gallery, Ohio State University, 2018.


Perambulator Huntly, 2014

In Perambulator Huntly, 2014, I spent a month living and walking in the town of Huntly, Aberdeenshire with my two-and-a-half-year-old son and seven-month-old daughter. One of the outcomes of the residency, undertaken with Deveron Arts’ Walking Institute, was a series of images documenting the edges of the town for a pram: the places past which I could not push. These walks took me up the Battlehill, the Ba’Hill, the Clashmach, into the Bin Forest, and along the river Deveron. Photographs of the Huntly ‘edges’ were exhibited in ‘Saunter, Trek, Escort, Parade’ a group show at Flux Factory, Queens, 2018.