Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Well, my lactation installation piece is up and running at long last! here's the 'cheat sheet', which should give you just about everything you wish to know:

Exhibition title: Curdle
Artist’s name: Zoo

Exhibition details: Don’t Look Gallery, 419 New Canterbury Rd, Dulwich Hill, NSW, Australia (a block back from the corner of New Canterbury Rd and Marrickville Rd)
http://www.myspace.com/dontlookgallery or email dontlookgallery@gmail.com
Opening hours are 11-5, every day for the duration of the exhibition
Opening night: Wednesday 9th April 2008 6-9pm. Small informal launch, statement of project intentions, few beers.
Closing night: Saturday April 19th, from 6pm. This is the big one- art created during the installation will be on display, and I will have more to say about it!
Contact details: Through the gallery or www.galactablogue.blogspot.com

What it entails: Curdle is an endurance-based installation piece, where the main activity performed is inducing lactation. This is achieved by regular pumping and the ingestion of a variety of herbs including fenugreek, fennel and milk thistle. I have done this before, but not to the same degree, so one of the main focuses will be on seeing how much milk I can produce. The first part of the piece will concentrate on the process of inducing, documenting the changes to my body and what milk I produce. The second part of the piece, once lactation has been achieved, will involve myself and other artists creating a series of milk-based pieces, by using the lactation process and the actual milk itself as inspiration, as material, or both. Already I have photographers, painters, sketchers and musicians taking part, and am open to any other suggestions for collaboration. Artists can just turn up as they wish, but for larger, longer pieces which involve serious input from me it is best to contact me and schedule a time, or at least discuss the nature of the work. The public is invited to visit at any time during opening hours, to record their responses, stories and ideas about the work in the journal provided, to ask questions, to observe the work in progress and engage with it in any respectful way they wish.

The main point of the installation: This is part of a larger body of work that has previously centered on other body fluids and processes, most usually blood and bleeding. It has its roots in body modification practice in that it is concerned with altering the form and functionality of the body. Curdle, and the entire induced lactation project I have undertaken, grapples with questions of how bodies (and more specifically, body fluids) are gendered, how they communicate with other bodies, and what happens when bodies and embodied practices are allowed to drift loose of their traditional boundaries. Clearly, lactation is traditionally the preserve of mothers and their babies (and the odd lucky husband), but breastfeeding is not the only context in which it exists or the only function it performs. Lactation and breast milk can be used to cleanse the body of toxins, to inhibit fertility, to access new ways of thinking, to gain sexual pleasure, to nurse a partner, to comfort oneself and others, to transmit cultural knowledge, to cure or to contaminate. This installation is also largely concerned with investigating milk as language, a text, and the lactating body as producer and conveyor of meaning.

For the record: This is not positioned against maternity or breastfeeding, but rather an attempt to consider what knowledges and experiences lactation and breast milk might offer when allowed to speak freely outside of patriarchal, heterosexual discourses.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very much looking forward to this installation of body modification, though i have worked with a similar theme, mine centered more on what inhibits and encourages lactation during breastfeeding an infant as well to the processes of changes lactation encourages in post natal body modification. I also look forward as an artist to explore the piece and would love a chance to explore in the early stages such as while induction of lactation with the remedies that would be trialed (let me know if this is a possibility). As a women who was unable to produce much milk and was envious and in awe of those that produced so much it went to waste, i am in anticipation to the levels of production possible. Visually, Matriachally, and emotionally this piece will be enlightening.


10:12 pm  

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