3x 20mins (triptych) | 16mm | Australia | 2017-2020

Director Raphaela Rosella

Sound Recordist & Sound Designer Joshua Wilkinson

Editor Raphaela Rosella, Trevor Tweeton & Adric Watson

"It's hard to celebrate a birth when you know what's coming. Still, Rowrow smiled as she lay in a hospital bed, 38-weeks pregnant with her fourth child. Her green prison-issued uniform sat carefully folded next to her—two corrective service officers hovered nearby. At 9:20pm, we heard baby John's first cries, and I cut his cord. Four days later, holding back tears in her eyes and breasts full of milk, Rowrow was handcuffed and transported back to prison without him. The next morning my newborn godson and I travelled eight hours by train so he could be with family. Seven weeks later, in a gesture of cruelty, only bureaucracy could invent, Rowrow was released early on bail. Just eleven weeks later, Rowrow was pipelined back to prison—again five months later—three months later—and several times more. Like a revolving door, her sentence a little longer, and the paper trail a little thicker than before—"carceral tactics and operations…rooted in colonial white supremacy".

HOMEtruths marks an extension of our fifteen-year project, ‘You’ll Know It When You Feel It’, as several co-creators and I venture into moving image. This project has emerged from our lived experiences where we have seen our sisters, brothers, friends, partners, and extended family move through the prison system. However, in recent years, our lives have increasingly intersected with the prison system—often in violent and explicit ways. Although, carcerality extends far beyond prisons, parole, and courtrooms. Systems of surveillance, classification and control are embedded within archival practices. These bureaucratic procedures and subsequent documents often provide the “evidentiary basis to legitimi[z]e the power to punish”. Yet, what remains forgotten within the administration, arbitrary decision-making, paperwork, court documents, police statements, criminal indexes and case files that record these experiences are “the intimate relations, family connections, social networks and public lives of those directly impacted” by the Prison Industrial Complex.

In recognising that forms of documentary practice are complicit in maintaining this regime, we felt other creative forms of representation could express the intimate dimensions of our lives as we navigated carceral bureaucracies and surveillance. From six-minute monitored prison phone calls to handwritten letters that circulated between us, we began to collect evidence of this time beyond the bureaucratic documents that otherwise represent this experience. Co-created over five years (2017-2022) under various states of “un/freedom” HOMEtruths draws from our co-created archive to resist bureaucratic representations of women whose intimate relations extend across carceral geographies. In turn, the multi-channel video work serves as a non-linear platform to amplify feelings of intimacy, frustration, kinship, and connectedness that circulate between imprisoned people and their loved ones." - Raphaela Rosella