The First Sigh

“When I was born I was 16 cm tall. I was born on November 26, 1978. It was 4:20 in the morning. My hair was black, but now it’s blond. My first word was plant. I said “plant, plant”. When I was one my mom and dad got divorced. I had a car that I rode around the house.”

The 8 mm film titled The First Sigh shows a bunch of lilies slowly ascending and descending, as if following the rhythm of quiet breathing. The flowers are placed in a vase filled with black liquid, which gradually gets sucked in to the plants. While the white flowers unhurriedly absorb the color, the bunch collapses and bruises, only to ascend back to the beginning maidenly pure and untouched.
In front of the flower arrangement runs a text in which 4-7 year old children tell stories of significant happenings in their lives. Just like the darkening and lightening cycle of flowers, also the stories of the children revolve from shadow to light. The narratives go back to as early as the birth, thus contradicting certain researchers claims speaking against our ability to remember and recount very early memories. Even if the memories might not always correlate with reality, their importance as building blocks of identity and self are vitally important.


Director: Saara Ekström, camera: André Bijma, editing: Saara Ekström and André Bijma

2003   Mnemonic, Pori Art Museum, Finland
2002   Ars Fennica, Hämeenlinna and Lappeenranta Art Museums, Finland