Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Curds Away!

Pictures made from milk, using a 19th Century process it seems. Ah, such quirkiness to be had in the Land of Lacto! Check out Denise Ferris's art here.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Milk Jewels

from http://www.news.com.au:

IF you thought mother's milk was just for babies, you're wrong - a group of artists has turned human milk into pieces of jewellery.

The Telegraph.co.uk reports Duende, a collective of French artists, will display pendants, necklaces and other ornaments made either partly or wholly from human milk in France later this year.

The milk is boiled with vinegar and the protein in it hardens to create a plastic that can be moulded and decorated.

Amongst the pieces to be featured in the exhibition, which will open at the La Cuisine gallery in Negrepelisse on September 13, will be a necklace with a pendant of a baby's head made from the human milk.


Non-Maternal Writers Of 'The Maternal'

Yes, I know I haven't posted here in a long time- too busy writing up the tome!

Was wondering recently if anyone knows any people writing on maternity, and/ or lactation, that is NOT a mother or parent. Obviously I write about breast milk without ever having spawned, and I have a Northern friend who is childless and writing poetry about maternal sexuality, and another non-breeding mate here in WA looking and reproductive technologies and such for her MA... all of us dykes, or thereabouts. Sans infant, and in most cases not desiring one. Just curious.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Milk And Tears

Last week I heard news that the girlfriend of an old friend had died. I haven't seen him in a long time, and never met her that I can think of, but a few nights later I dreamed that I was breastfeeding him... It was a sweet, sweet dream, very tender and caring and soft...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Curdle- Pictures Of Y

And here are some pictures I took during Y's show, courtesy of Y. Suddenly I am back in that space...


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Curdle- Psychedelic Milk

As featured in the film Matt made with Frank.



Am almost sufficiently recovered to do the final update of the Curdle experience. Took more out of me than I thought…

Well, got up early to await the arrival of various pieces of art and person. Holly and Liam were first to arrive, bearing poems and fetching food. Then Leesa with the photos, Matt with DVD, Alexis with music, and Sam with wicked intentions and alcohol swabs. When all put together, the tally of pieces to experience at CurdleD on Saturday night:

* Film that I did with Matt and Frank and the Nymphettes, turned into a late-night ‘Let me tell your milky fortune’ advertisement. Hilarious.

* Five pictures from the photo shoot with Leesa, of milk jugs and Moo-Zoo’s reincarnation.

* Slideshow of all the photos Emmy took of the piercings I did with Tam.

* Projection of the Hera film I did last year with MimInBoots.

* Mixed CD of milk songs put together by Alexis, including My Milkshake, No Milk Today and some Spanish kids thing about a giant cow or something.

* Poetry reading by Goatman, aka Liam. Bloody good, and funny, and insightful for one so young and precocious. Yes, we are ALL MOTHERSUCKERS!

* Philosophical rantings from behind a screen by the ridiculous Necrotitties, appearing for one night only as NecroMilkies- all French and fluid.

* Poem by Holly, written out and hung on the way with her breast print.

* Instructions for how to make invisible ink from milk, written in my own breastmilk and ironed until it showed up.

* Four photos by Sam K of my Divine Bovine show last year at Hellfire.

* Collection of nursing pads, written on by visitors both before and during the night.

* Milky Memories book, containing thoughts from visitors.

And then there was the cupping performance. Ah, the cupping! Set up the scene in the back room, two chairs, blacked out walls and window and set up the surveillance cameras so that it showed in black and white on two monitors outside in the main gallery. In essence, Sam made five cuts on my chest and tummy with a needle, then cupped each of them as she went along. They filled up with blood quite admirably, and it was hard to stay still. Cupping is an odd sensation, a slow pinch that gradually feels like a bruise. Delicious! And all I can do keep from dropping completely into some sort of happy lala land, but know I have to keep on going when I look down and see the cups filling up with blood. Soon it is crunch-time, the moment I have been waiting for. Will milk fill the cups when we place them on my nipples? First one goes on, doesn’t clamp hard enough, no milk. Second one- ‘we have milk!’. Wooohoooo! Re-do the first one, and this time it works, so that I have fulfilled my dream of having blood and milk cups… it looks and feel wonderful, I get Sam to help me to my feet and I wander into the audience to cheers and more photographs. Back into the room, with a slurp the cups come off leaving congealed blood-jelly and drying milk…

Then happy-high Zoo stumbles back into the crowd for drinking and schmoozing and eating sugary cakes and cavorting, before closing up the gallery and heading into Phoenix for a quick dance and an early-ish night. Nice to be outside again, but somehow I miss being CurdleD.



The penultimate day went quietly, with little company or activity. Was sleepy and uninspired, not in a sad way just a gentle surrender to a zombie-like state. Made better by a visit from Greg to set up all the AV stuff that I can't get my head around, and then a visit from Reid who did some sketching and photos and helped me arrange the space for closing night. Can't say much else happened really, a call from my Perth groupie and a relatively early night.


CURDLE- Moving Images

Projection of the short film I made with MimInBoots, with my first significant amount of milk from Curdle (Day Three).


Curdle- Wee Small Hours With Y

Well, its been a few days since Y performed for me, and I’m still not sure that I can do it justice in a blog post. Have described it to a few people verbally and just tend to rant and jump up and down with a possessed/enraptured look on my face! Will try to convey the joy and beauty of it here all the same:

Thursday night I go to sleep in my loft, knowing that I will be woken soon. The phone rings at 4am, and Y tells me he is outside. I let him in, and am instructed not to look whilst he sets up. ‘Okay.’I open my eyes, and he is lying on a rug, covered in gunmetal grey blankets. There is a tube, maybe a couple of metres long, leading from his head to a glass container of milk. The liquid is being drawn through this tube ever so slowly. He moves slightly, starts to uncover himself. Wraps the tubing around his neck like an umbilical cord, still sucking. Shifts about, uncovering more and more, sucking in milk all the time, until it is all fur and tattoo and white jocks and white liquid. Its infantile somehow, or perhaps embryonic, but something unsettling and animal, a bearded baby, a hairy cyborg floating in a sky-floor-cell, something not quite right. It is also really hard to watch. If I saw this in another space, with an audience, and could wander about and leave at will it would still make me uncomfortable. Being trapped in a small space alone, with only the sounds of sucking and breathing and shifting, nobody to connect with, a performer with closed eyes, no other witnesses…it requireds a lot of effort to keep watching! I am allowed to take photos, but only 5, so I don’t even have a camera to hide behind or mediate my experience through for most of it- I just have to feel it. At some point I cry to see him struggle to finish it all, and I can feel my stomach expanding in sympathetic milk-pregnancy, feel the liquid sitting and curdling within me. Finally it ends when the milk runs out, and we exchange small talk (as much as I can talk- I am in shock) and he leaves me to return to my bed.

Monday, April 21, 2008

CURDLE- Darklings Journal

Dearest Darkling has posted a review of our piercing scene for Curdle on her journal. Looking forward to many more artistic endeavours with this one, as always.


CURDLE- Beatie's Blog

A certain Beatie has blogged about the final night of Curdle, in fabulous detail. And I've added my comments, and you can see it all right here. Bravo! I'm all flattered and giddy that its all gotten so much attention!


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Well And Truly CurdleD

Will update blog properly soon, but daresay all in all it was a rather successful event! Thankyou to all who attended, assisted, plied me with food and alcohol, kept me company, made art with me, rang me up to check in, performed... it was a truly collaborative effort. Bless you all!


Friday, April 18, 2008

CurldeD Is At 6pm, Saturday 19th

Appranently forgot to mention the start time in all the promos. Oops!



Thursday 17th April

Not long to go now- and what a day. Washed, porridged, dressed, read, updated this, watched telly and had a cup of tea before 11. My human interaction started just before opening with a young poet at my door, here to read me some of his work and talk about his closing night CURDLE piece. A few minutes after he arrives Greg wanders in with his partner and 11 week-old baby. He announces that we will be greeted shortly by their sort of parenting club, a bunch of mothers and others with their mostly 3 month-old-ish kiddies. It is weird when they arrive, to say the least. They are all quite straight, obviously, and seem to be mostly 20-something white middle-class mummies. They are polite, and mostly friendly enough, but on the whole appear bewildered by the art, the concept and the overall situation. We chat about milk production, how to increase supply, herbs and drugs and how much milk we get at each sitting, and it all goes reasonably well until I start telling them about my PhD, and raise the topic of adult nursing (among wet nursing, cross nursing etc) and it all turns a little odd. Saved by a phone call, and they leave soon after. Can’t help but wonder about their chat in the coffee shop! Feeling weird about this motherhood business—so much of what I am playing with concerns the maternal somehow. Obviously! Its unsettling, somehow. I know I am far more comfortable in the world I live in. Do parents really weigh their kids all the time and obsess about how many times they feel each day, where they can weigh them when the baby centre is shut and whether their lactation consult approves of nipple shields? I can’t help but think I would be inclined just to feed it when it wanted to be fed, let it sleep when it wanted to sleep, and unless it was seriously losing weight just let it get on with growing at its own rate. But heck, I don’t have a kid so who knows how I would react at the end of the day?

L stays and we chat art and poetry for a while, before B comes in for a coffee and a turn in the rocker dressed as Little Miss Muffet. Joined by C and M, a lovely couple of mates who turn up with fantastic cheeses and fruit bread. Yummy! People keep bringing me such fabulous food! We stuff ourselves stupid, and talk about what’s been happening. They all leave bar L, and we go back to listening to his IPod and working out performance stuff. I wonder how my stomach with ever recover from its recent fatty, sugary, salty adventures, but hope that once I get out of here and back on the dancefloor and fresh vegies I won’t feel quite so blobby and unenergetic.

Sometime later a new pal from QLD, H, turns up to talk maternal sexuality, bringing another newly acquired mate T with her. L leaves sometime amongst all this, and then Matt and his filming friend F arrive to continue yesterday’s shoot. Cake Lady appears in the midst of it all, hanging around just long enough to spread some sunshine and do ‘the milk colour experiment’. I dress up as some sort of oracle-type figure, and we (easily) rope H and F into playing nymphette-type assistants. I am poised over a big round bowl full of milk, lactating into it while flanked and adored and helped by the others. It is good silly fun, though daresay my milk production was a little less than I could desire (still not without its odd squirty moment of joy). Think it all worked well, and will be interesting to see the end product on Saturday. Suddenly realise that F is the flatmate of This Charming Man, which makes me laugh until we go outside, I start to wave them all goodbye and we discover T’s car has been towed away (which causes a minor panic- somehow she is calmer about it than the rest of us). Then they are gone.

Quick breather, and then Biffo’s alter ego turns up with some beers and we just laze about shooting the breeze. E drops in with a disc of the piercing pix from the other night, which are totally brilliant (of course, she is a brilliant photographer). Phew! Crash for an hour or two, watch some mindless telly, read for a bit, and wait for the last couple of visitors of the evening. Tomorrow is the second last day, with much to organise for closing night and no doubt more visitors, and I want to get some more academic stuff done before I leave the space. Time for another coffee I guess… Will worry about assessing the work, and the value of this experiment, until I am out and have had some time to debrief and ponder.

Oh, and tonight is the night of Y’s secretive performance. He is coming in the wee small hours, to hand me a camera and give me a one on one show, then disappear. It’s like waiting for Santa, and I don’t know whether to sleep or just stay up until he comes. Maybe I will just doze in the chair in front of the TV.

Update: Y called me at 4am to say he was outside. Needless to say his gift was exquisite, and inspiring, and made me cry with its beauty and intensity, and though I’m not sure if I can talk about what it was yet I wanted you all to know it was the perfect antidote to any doubts I had about what I am doing here. All of this is so that one day I might, just might, after many years of experimenting and performing around and trying out new techniques, of treading the boards and pulling all-nighters, of locking myself in my garret and becoming a hermit, if I summon up all my discipline and my talent, I might produce something similar. I am blessed with such an array of muses and mentors, collaborators and support crew, moral support and drinking buddies, that with a spark of imagination and determination from great things might happen.



Wednesday 16th April.

Well over the hump and into the home stretch, and daresay it seems a little weird. Still producing minimal milk but maximum milky art, and getting a lot of writing and reading and musing and note-making done, so… think it has all been worthwhile. Not that I will probably comprehend it all until it is over. Today was rather quiet, blogged a bit, pumped some, had a visit from a friend with her baby (bringing me very yummy homemade pear and banana bread), and Greg who runs the gallery. Collective Matt came in and we played around more with milk and food colouring and detergent, filming it this time and making plans for similar fun tomorrow. Y turned up for a chat, bringing me still-warm pumpkin soup he’d just made, with excellent fancypants bread rolls and yoghurt. Then to top off the gastronomic delights, Madame came in to visit and bought us all manner of goodness from the Mediterranean chicken shop a few doors down from the gallery. Have started writing more on my PhD today, and typing out notes and whatnot again, and feel in a somewhat academic headspace. It’s a good thing. Tomorrow brings some filming, possibly a visit from M-Bear with some cling wrap, a woman from QLD stopping by to hang out and talk maternal sexuality, a chat with a boy who will be doing some milky slam poetry on the closing night, and hopefully some more writing. Now, back to my books…


Wednesday, April 16, 2008



Day Six. Pump when I first wake, and get much more than I was anticipating! Yay! Then a big sharp pain under my right nipple when I finish, and so I hand express some more until it stops. Presumably this is a good sign? More tingly, more tenderness, more milk?

So far my days have been filled with visitors, food and reading some of the books I brought in with me, making notes and trying to get some writing done. Today it seems I cannot comprehend or recall what I read. Perhaps I am not up to ‘sensible’ texts about breastfeeding and feminism? Might be time to write again!

Speaking of which, I do believe I promised to write a description of the space, in lieu of the photos I cannot seem to post at the moment:

It is a small gallery, an old photographic studio from what we can gather. You enter through a doorway I have draped with an old baby’s cradle cover, cream netting and lace, and a blue fringing curtain. To your right is a magnificent bay window that is framed by an ornate black wooden archway. I have blacked out the window and pinned up long cream lace curtains. The floor here I covered the floor in white fur, setting up the rocking chair in the centre. White fur wrap sits on one arm, a big black spider on the other (Miss Muffet?). To one side is a blue milk crate, white christening gown and bonnet hanging from it. On top of the crate is the electric pump, also blue. On the nearby white wall I have projected a short film that I did last year with MimInBoots, in which I play a sort of Hera character, pearl-beaded nipple tassels and enormous black wig, chewing up and spitting out lychees and cachous into a bowl, dribbling milk over my breasts, licking rice pudding from the floor… It was supposed to be in colour it seems, but the way she has rendered and filtered it make it simply stunning in black and white. It looks like an old silent film, scratchy and disjointed and a fascinating glimpse at another time and place. I’m very impressed with our work, hers in particular! In the far corner, facing the doorway, I am set up in an old blue armchair, with a lace-covered milk crate to one side, a small TV and piles of books and notepads next to me. A cow mask hangs on another wall, alongside black and white photos of the Hellfire show in which I wore it—my very first lactation show. Next to these pix is an array of breastfeeding art postcards, and instructions on how to interact with the installation. In front of this is a small wooden stand, covered in a lace cloth, with the Milky Memories book and a selection of pens. There is a box of nursing pads on the floor, and above these the finished products are stuck to the wall. To one side is a lightbox, unused as yet (though there are plans for it)and covered with white silky fabric. Next to this the bar, with the outfits I am wearing during the installation hanging in front of it. At the back half of the room I have pinned up silky white fabric, and wrapped blue spotted net around the beams. It is extraordinarily soft and girly overall, and all of my costumes are the same- diamantes, pearls, lace, beige, blue, white, cream, brown fur, sequins, silver glitter… Why? These are the colours I associate with milk, the blue of the Madonna, the pale blue tint and various whites of breast milk, blue and white milk cartons, blue makes white more white… as for the softness and femininity? I really don’t know the reason. I just knew that I didn’t want any sharp edges, wanted it to be soothing and safe and quiet. Maternal? Perhaps. I want bare feet and gowns and rock-a-bye-maybe. I needed to be surrounded by this in order to do this, and I don’t know what will happen when I first pull on a leather harness again or polish my boots. I feel like a marshmallow toasted at the hearth, slowly oozing inside yet crunch enough on the exterior to still require the use of teeth.

So far, this is all that the public see. There is a small room at the back that I am currently using for storing props and costumes, that will be used as part of the final night performance. (More on this later.) Above this room is a mezzanine where I sleep on an air mattress. Its warm and cosy and someone has written poems on the walls and drawn strange creatures on the ceiling. So far I have been the only one up there, which is somewhat annoying as it is the perfect place to snuggle and giggle and act like kids on a camping trip. Any takers?

I have realised that I am avoiding pumping whilst the gallery is open if I do not have a friend with me, which is again against the idea of the project but… there is an old guy from a few shops away who drops in from time to time, and he is slightly sleazy and perves at the video and tells me it (and therefore the actor, me) is sexy and I really don’t want to have to explain what I am doing to him or have him watching me intently whilst I do it. I don’t want to be the talk of the town like that. This is a suburban shopping strip, and it is full of tool shops and therefore men, and I do not feel safe exposing a breast to pump without back-up. I get enough looks when I lift the shutters each morning, enough curious-but-not-in-a-good-way stares from the passing blokes and old women. Is this what it is like to breastfeed? If I was in a place where I could believe people would understand the act*, or at least would accept and comprehend it as some sort of ‘statement’, then I would feel more secure about it. It is much to do with the lack of baby too, there is no justification for this semi-public display. This is not the way I wanted it to be, I feel threatened and uneasy and… well, I knew this would teach me things!


Seems that I was justified in not wanting to pump whilst here on my own, indeed, am stopping doing it when the gallery is ‘open’ altogether- people can knock on the door if I have closed it to pump and I will decide whether to let them in, or they can request it and I’ll see what I think of them. I don’t feel safe. Hadn’t had anyone in here all day, and around 3pm a man came in. One of those strange sort of guys that looks like he would collect Lost In Space trading cards and live with his mother. Coke-bottle glasses, with really big frames, hair just that bit too long, bad cord pants, speaks slowly in a monotone. He had come to check out the gallery, as he often does it seems, and was looking kind of bewildered so I explained the project to him. Stupid move. Creepy dude: ‘Wow, I didn’t realise anyone could do that’. Me ‘Yeah, well, it’s a form of body modification, endurance piece blah blah blah’. ‘So, does it turn you on?’ ‘No.’ ‘Then its just like going to the toilet’. ‘Well, not quite. Would you like to write something in the visitors’ book?’.

He sits and takes a pen and starts to write. I don’t bother checking what he is written. A little later a dear friend I have not seen in ever so long comes in to sketch me pumping (so that she can paint my pumping portrait later) and I show her around and give her the book to look at. As I flip through it, I notice his first entry- ‘RAD FEMS SUCK.’ Then I come across his other message- ‘I HATE Anything coming out of a woman body. That must mean milk. Thanks for that. No more choc Moves**. W [indecipherable].’ Charming, although maybe being called a FEM was a compliment? Must be all the lace. Interestingly, we decided that the latter comment could be interpreted as deeply entrenched self-loathing, as unless he really was born from a pod, chances are good that he was once something ‘coming out of a woman body.’

Sketching friend leaves, and have a small break until the next crew of artistes arrives. I had no idea what they had planned for me, as often F’s work is piercing-cutting-ropes-and-ouchiness, and her willing accomplice A is of that ilk-- so I was slightly nervous. Of course, most of my mates also have a highly developed silly side and arrived armed with no more than two tubes of paint- one iridescent white and the other a nice medium blue. They paint milk jugs on my torso, and I milk drops into them whilst F takes photos. Hilarious! Then it all turns really silly when we realise that I have my cow mask here, and we could paint me up like a cow and have my pose being milked into a bucket by A the farm-boy. Silly, but rather effective, and as already discovered at the Hellfire gig last year, I do make rather a divine bovine. Much stout and tomfoolery then stumble up to bed. Nice night.

* Funnily enough, one of the friend’s in here last night works at a large public art gallery. Recently there was a big group of parents and children visiting, and a woman sat on one of the benches in the middle of the room to feed. It seems people did not know where to look, and there was much forced smiling in her direction ‘we know we are supposed to support this to be politically correct’ and a sudden burst of intensity in the viewing of the art on the walls ‘oh, I was so busy looking at the ART that I didn’t even notice that child’s mouth on your tit’. I was surprised, but then I thought that even after all of my research and writing I have not much idea of where to look either. I have only ever had one personal friend breastfeed in front of me, and public sightings are rare, and frankly I am not used to being confronted with it. Sure, I don’t squirm or walk away when I am, but there’s still a split second that I stop and think ‘just how am I supposed to look at this?’. Part of this is to do with the fact that I am conscious of looking quite ‘queer’, and aware that my gaze may be interpreted differently to that of a ‘hetero-looking’ person.

**Presumably meaning chocolate Moove, a flavoured milk drink.



Have all but given up on the idea of pumping through the night, or trying to do more than three or four a day. Contrary to popular understanding and logic, my body does NOT produce more milk with more pumps, indeed, if I leave it for six hours instead of four I get enough to actually cover the bottom of the bottle, or close to, and my breasts ache considerably less. I feel bad about abandoning the 4-hourly plan after only 3 days of it, but feel it smarter to go with what seems to be working! And I am exhausted enough, presumably from lack of sunshine and fresh air and a rise in hormone swings and too much chocolate and not a lot of exercise and thinking so much and reading excessively.

Start Day Five with a quick trip to ‘the outside’ to update this blog and attend to emails-- as you know there is no internet here. Against my rules to leave the space, but blogging is a part of the project and I do have people out there in cyberspace wanting updates, so that I am forced to cross the road and use the internet services of the computer store there every couple of days. Then a visit from a photographer from the Glebe, who has me sit in the rocking chair pointing the electric pump like a pistol. NO idea what it looks like, but we have a chat about his new baby and what I am doing this project for and he seems happy with the pix. (Finally get interviewed by the reporter at 5pm, who asks SO many questions! Was anticipating a quick ten-minute ‘who, what, where, when’ with not much ‘how’ or ‘why’, but it ended up rather in-depth indeed. Hopefully I am not totally misrepresented, but what can one do? It’s a fine line to tread. She did seem genuinely interested, and as it’s a local paper and not some total scumbags like SMH or Telegraph it may well be okay.)

After the photos my darling friend and mentor Y comes around with moon-cakes and poetry. We chat about Curdle and life in general, he takes some more pix to accompany an interview he did with me a while ago (sitting in armchair reading) and he performs a poem for me that he gave at the Best Western arts event last weekend. Then we get down to ‘business’-- he is to give me a one-on-one performance, just him and me and his photographer, one night in the wee small hours (around 4am). We make a tentative date, and I await his confirmation with eagerness. He is divine, I love his work, and some days I still cannot believe I work and engage with such extraordinary persons. I am blessed.

And the day just gets better. Watch daytime TV, eat too much, and then gradually more visitors arrive mid-afternoon. The first a girl I knew years ago in high school and churchy youth group (yes, its true). Haven’t set eyes on her in 15 years or so, and actually don’t remember her at all really, so it’s a strange ‘reunion’ but one filled with lovely exchanges about breastfeeding and the project, her own experiences of lactation and motherhood and milky lovers. Then Madame turns up with soy sauce and chocolate (bless her little cotton socks) and I am further excited by the unanticipated arrival of two delightful circus-cum-cabaret-cum-fetish-cum-burlesque performers of my more recent acquaintance. The five of us sit around drinking tea and wine and they all write amazing entries in my Memories book, of piglets and a kitten, stepmothers and adult nursing and a brilliant quote from Wicked. All but Madame leave, and then M-Bear arrives with beer and a lamington. I start on the stout, it all gets a bit silly, and suddenly M-B is wearing the christening bonnet, my white negligee and matching lace housecoat, looking like a giant bearded baby. I change into my ‘Madonna’ outfit of shiny blue dress and veil, and sit in the rocker with him on my lap clutching a longneck of beer in a brown paper bag. Madame takes some silly shots of him being burped by me, we get some dinner and then suddenly everyone is gone and I am pumping again before bed. A very pleasant bedtime phone conversation from a playmate far away and I doze off to happily dream nonsense all night.



Start Day Four with a morning shoot for G, who is doing a film-making course at COFA. She turns up with piles of Iced VoVos and lollies and fetches us ‘real’ coffee- a nice change after days of instant! Then she fusses about with lights and scenic and we get to shooting. Essentially this part is just me sitting in the rocking chair, hand-expressing. Made sure not to pump overnight in an attempt to build up the milk supply somewhat, and it seems to have worked because I can squeeze drops from my left breast, usually the shy one that produces little milk, for around half an hour. Of course, this means that my right breast, diva that zie is and usually the exuberant one willing to spray and squirt at the sign of a camera, clams up almost entirely and we are struggling to get more than half a dozen drops from hir. I lick the drops from my breast, squeeze them into a glass of milk, put a fake moustache on my nipple and squeeze milk onto it, play around until G has enough footage.

Then the Bears arrive, bringing me a chocolate mint thickshake that I can barely suck through the straw. The first three hang around for an hour or so, sign a nursing pad each and write in my book and chat milk. One sits in the rocker and tries the electric pump but unfortunately he stops before I can snap a photo-- though I can understand his camera-shyness somewhat. They leave, and two other furry boys arrive with a packet of Tim Tams (so much chocolate!). These ones are more serious, a bit older, and spontaneously raise all manner of milky facts and suggestions, from prostate milking to transgender issues to wondering if I had considered the cyborg aspect of induced lactation. It was a joy to have all of them here, all of them.

Close the gallery and have a little nap in preparation for the big piercing scene set for the evening. Photographer E and stylist and general helping hand G arrive, shortly followed by D, the pushy pointy princess of pleasure and pain. After we muse over costumes, eventually settling on nursing bra, white and blue petticoat-style dress, long blonde wig, blue eye shadow and pale pink lipstick, and scenarios we get down to work. We have previously discussed piercing me and then tying me to the rocker from the needles, and this is the plan we go ahead with—plus some extras. First D places 8 needles in my left breast, in a semi-circle around the top of my nipple, and ties my manual pump (wearing my friend’s christening bonnet) to them with pale pink wool. She then piercing my arms, tying them to the chair and the left one to the pump, so that I have no choice but to cradle it’s ‘head’. Then four needles in my thighs, again tied with wool so that I stay prim and proper, demurely seated. The breast ones are easy to take, like a knife through butter, but the skin on my limns feels tough and they hurt considerably! Only three needles to go, and these are in my face. One horizontally above my left eyebrow, and one in each cheek. Having lots of facial piercings, both permanent and temporary, I am not too concerned but still they are rather ouchy and as I type this the points recollect the experience and ache. A pink baby’s dummy (pacifier) is placed in my mouth, and tied to the cheek needles, and then the eyebrow piercing is tied to the pump so that I am forced to gaze down upon it. Forced domesticity, of a fashion. E takes a lot of pix of the process and result, there is a lot of laughter, and I am set free to bleed and mop up and recover. When everyone leaves I pump and crawl into bed, too exhausted to study or write…


CURDLE JOURNAL 12/04/08 continued


Feeling a bit better, more alert than last few days, and on less coffee, though still had to have a little sleep as soon as the gallery closed. Couple of mates supposed to drop in but didn’t make it, but did make visiting dates for next week, and some art dates, and had a few other folk drop by to hang out. Even had two people who DIDN’T already know about it come in, first one just read the blurb and looked at me and smile before wandering out, but the second one was a lovely lady who works for another gallery and said she’d tell her ‘experimental’ mates about it and see if they want to come to the closing next week.

Still getting sod-all milk, and have pumped four times today already (just about to do one before bed). Really don’t know why- drinking the tea, lots of water, pumping more than ever…did cover half the bottom of the bottle before, which is more than it has been so far but still rather disappointing after over two weeks of (partial to begin with) pumping. And at the end of the day I am really quite itchy all over my face and neck, and my tummy a little weird, which I am suspecting is maybe the milk-thistle tea? Whatever is causing it, it’s a tad frustrating and irritating. Other changes? My breasts are shifting shape it seems, with more and more of them trying to sneak under my armpits (though they are quite impressive when squished together in my nursing bra). My nipples hurt when they even sense the pump coming near, tight and almost stinging, and my tits itch on the inside. And I am getting the odd let-down pang of sharp pain, but not much to show for all of this. Arrrrrgh! Body! Do what I am asking you to do! Please! Do I need to nag? Cajole? Drink more stout? Meditate? Seduce? Beg? Get more sleep?

Recalled a snippet of a dream today, but not which sleep it came from. I had a big glass cylinder, beaker-like, and it was full of milk from different women. But it didn’t look like milk, it was yellowy-brown and crumbly, chalky, powdered, and I was not looking forward to consuming it at all. But I had said that I would, to make some point or another about the wonders of milk, and so I went ahead. I mixed it with water, and it became pure white frothy milk, with possibly a hint of vanilla milkshake about it, and whilst I struggled still with the volume the task was not unpleasant. Gee whiz, wonder what THAT was about then? Filming tomorrow, and then photo shoot, so should pump and head to bed but this is the first time I’ve had in hours to enter stuff into EndNote and generally process the day. Part of me wishes I was out clubbing like any normal weekend, but I know I have to follow this through for better or worse, tedium or transformation. G’nite.


CurdleD- Invitation


By the blistered nipples of the Virgin you are instructed to get thyselves
prepared to be CURDLED at the closing night performance and party for Zoo’s latest and greatest lactation installation!

Make your merry Milky Way to Don’t Look Gallery on Saturday the 19th of April 2008. Marvel at the magnificent manifestations of ten days of mammary manipulation! Poetry, prose and philosophy performed by the magical majesty of moistness, Necrotitties! Fluxing fluid filmic fun from a dazzling duo of dampened damsels! A slippery slideshow sideshow of pretty photographs from a glitzy galaxy of sharp yet slimy shooters! Be entranced and entertained by the Wondrous Wet! The Spectacle of the Soggy! The Mysteries of the Milk! The Licking of the Liquid!

419 New Canterbury Rd, Dulwich Hill.
Doors open 6pm, fun and games from 6:30 until they’re finished, or we are.

Labels: ,

Monday, April 14, 2008


can't seem to post pix from this shonky computer centre across the road from the gallery, and STILL don't have wireless in the gallery so... will try to post a DESCRIPTION in next day or so and you can all visualise! or visit!


CURDLE JOURNAL 11-12/04/08

Friday 11th April.

HARD night again, wake in a fright to pump for 4am, then sleep through 8am alarm… body not used to these sleep patterns yet. Get ready, open gallery, call a few people, reporter doesn’t call me and I can’t be bothered chasing so no idea whether the photographer will turn up on Monday. Not fazed as have enough publicity I think, there should be a bit of passing trade on the weekend days and have quite a few visitors and art projects planned. Acquaintance has read about CURDLE and comes to check it, then Collective Matt comes in with cow milk, red, blue and yellow food colouring and detergent. We fill two shallow dishes with milk, then place a drop of each colour in them. Slowly let detergent drizzle into the milk and… WOW! Its totally amazing! Something reacts and the milk starts to move, the odd bubble, then the colours collide, merge, form stripes and reptilian patterns, swirl and blend and separate. More colour, more experimenting with dropping detergent from above, slipping it down the sides of the dish, dotting it over the surface. Its amazingly fun and random, and we come up with all sorts of ideas to make prints and experiment further with human breast milk when mine comes in.

Speaking of which, my milk is coming in amazingly slowly. Even with fennel, milk thistle, heaps of fenugreek and water, and four-hourly pumps. Nipples really starting to hurt, and still only getting maybe 5 or 10mls each time (combined). Not sure what else to do, but body feeling pretty knackered and stressed so thinking of bringing it back to five/six-hourly pumps. Expensive hospital pump is USELESS for this purpose, so have to do most of it manually. Ouch.

And I must strange subconscious slip of the tongue, Freudian perhaps- sometime yesterday I started referring to my pumping times as ‘feeds’, as in ‘I missed my 8am feed’. WHAT has happened here? And I keep doing it without thinking, catching myself referring to the pump as if it were a/my baby. Odd.

Aside from this, read a big chunk of Natalie Angier’s Woman: An Intimate Geography and giggled and made lots of notes, and read through another few bits and pieces. Sketch out some projects to propose, wonder if I should do a show on the last night? If so, what? Have an idea that a friend mentioned, but have to think some more about it as would be quite involved and probably quite physically intense and not sure if that would be a good thing after ten days of bugger-all sleep and mental exertion and boredom and cabin fever. Night ended when a few friends dropped over, we had some wine and beer, then a totally unexpected visit from Necrotitties and Miss Kate, before crawling up to my mezzanine and collapsing. There goes Day Two.

Saturday 12th April.

Day Three. Didn’t do middle of the night pump to see if it made any difference, which is probably just an excuse for not getting up but… when I pumped at 8am there was the same amount of milk- miniscule- anyway.

11am. Gorgeous weather, and I know that the Surry Hills festival is on today, and one of my favourite club nights tonight, and a friend’s farewell and a bbq and I’ll miss it all and suddenly I have no idea why I am doing this. Don’t feel like I am achieving anything amazing- no major work done, no big revelation, not even much milk. Just a slow creeping madness and doubt. Still, there will be more parties and clubs, there’s always more booze and dancing- of that one can be sure.

Time to reassess aims and outcomes:
Make milk. Gradual. Have achieved more previously without this tedium and ouchiness
Make art. Much planned over the next few days, so have to be patient. Having trouble conceptualising this whole project as ‘art’, as now I am doing it suddenly it seems really mundane. What does it matter where I cook my porridge or rest my weary bones or sit and pump? What gives value to any of this? Believed in it before I did it, and still do to some extent, and suspect that its just the sheer exhaustion and realisation of quite how long ten days is that is starting to send my thinking a little haywire. More coffee, more coffee, more coffee. Need someone to bring me cheese pockets or chocolate or other treats…

Woman sitting in a car outside the gallery seems in about the same state as me. So far since I have opened the shutters she has had a wild laughing conversation with someone on her mobile phone, eaten a pile of strawberries and thrown all the leaves onto the footpath, slept, stared out the window, checked her makeup in the side mirror, and started playing very loud music. Would befriend her but she does seem considerably wired.



Thursday 10th April.

Doze past the first daytime pump time at 8am but do a bit extra at 9 or so. Give myself a sort of sponge bath in the kitchen ‘cos I can’t be arsed trying to work the camp shower yet (though will have to at some stage I imagine). Still not convinced re the electric pump, hospital grade or not it doesn’t get ANY milk out of me, whereas I get a bit with the manual one. Open gallery for first day of ‘general public access.’ In the end this consists of some people looking for the owner, a woman who did an exhibition here a while ago and had been told about my show by the owner, some people who are going to be part of the collective here, including one boy who is coming in tomorrow to do some art with me. Pump more, drink fennel tea and a heap of coffee, have some lunch, read and highlight some articles to play with later. Have had a few entries into my Milky Memories and Meanings book, some funny and some poignant. Get a phone call from a reporter for The Glebe who wants to interview me tomorrow and send a photographer on Monday so I can be talked about in next week’s local paper. Talk to and text some other folks about upcoming projects- Sunday is going to be hectic with a short film shoot and then a major piercing session. Close up the gallery and cook dinner. Realise I haven’t brought a can opener (but found one here!), or soy sauce, or salt and pepper, and that my tofu has frozen solid in the fridge (and is now RUBBER) and so my stir-fry is not one of my finest efforts. Heck, it has vegies and some nutritional value so will eat it anyway. Feeling a bit demented. And cold- should have brought more warm clothes with me. Hmm. Of all the TVs I have found in this place so far I can’t get one to work. One does have a radio function though, so I have some other voices to listen to. Think this is important for me, as even though I have had plenty of visitors and calls and texts I am sort of feeling lonely and teary already. Might just be the hormones? And I’m knackered, and the milk-making is sporadic, up and down, can’t tell what will happen from one session to the next. Hopefully this very frequent pumping routine will kick-start it in the next few days, as even though most of the ‘art’ is possible to fake/do with cow’s milk or soy milk etc, it would be nice to have enough of my own to experiment with. I feel weird, and a bit isolated. Speak to a beautiful friend from afar, but the second we hang up it seems I might have dreamed it all. Ah, back to EndNote, and maybe a doze. This is going to be HARD.

Oh, and there ISN’T a wireless connection that I can use so not sure how and when I will be able to post. Do the old ‘stick it on a USB key and then run in next door to quickly send it all and answer urgent emails’ I guess? VERY annoying, but what to do? Anyone has ANY suggestions please call me or text me with them!



Wednesday 9th April.

Come in mid-morning with last of my stuff and get to work setting up. Cover the bay window in black cloth, hang huge lace curtain over top of that. In front lay down white fur fabric, place rocking chair there and wrap big furry spider around it (yes Miss Muffet), blue milk crate beside it with pumps set up on top. Mim-In-Boots came in with an edit of the Hera footage we shot last year- me in big wig and nipple tassels with streams of pearls, chewing up silver cachous and lychees and rice pudding, spitting into the bowl/sky, licking, dribbling, milk all over my breasts- and sets it up to screen on the wall next to the milking chair scenario. Film is in colour, but projector only wants to do black and white and it looks fabulous, really. Scratchy and decadent, lace and fake crystal and feathers. Doesn’t make a huge amount of sense, but is titty and milky and pretty…

Opening, or rather non-opening, night. Around 15 assorted folk rock up to Don’t Look to celebrate the fact that I am about to lock myself up and lactate in an art gallery until Saturday week. Buy lots of booze, and a copy of Time Out with a full page article about my show. Quite like the article, and the picture isn’t bad (me looking all serious in a butcher’s apron in a cool room full of meat-should have work my cow mask), though the caption below tells folk that I will be pumping for four or six hours AT A TIME. Seriously, if you typed that out wouldn’t it occur to you to say to yourself ‘what the? Maybe I better check that fact there? What the heck ARE hir nipples made of anyway?’. Drink too much stout (good for my milk, or so the old wives say), talk a lot of piffle, generally enjoy myself and have crawled up to sleep in the mezzanine by midnight or so. People seem to like what I have done to the space, I get asked to do an interview for the next Slit- the ‘weird science’ issue, a special someone stays for a while after the others have gone. Nice night. Wake at 4:30am freaking out about pumping, pump sleepily for a wee while then crash back to sleep. All in all not a bad start.


Monday, March 31, 2008

Pump It Up

Hired myself a very pricey but very BIG and scary-looking electric breast pump, hospital grade. Will save me from RSI at least- and pumping so often for Curdle would be much more tedious without it. A bit hesitant to start her up though *g*...

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Today is the day my brain turns to milk. Or so it seems, scatty and vague and overwhelmed by simple tasks...not unpleasant if one just accepts and goes with the flows...

Curdle- My Boundaries

Now, as I have had some inquiries about what exactly Curdle will entail for the general public, I figured I should post some more specific parameters. Essentially, I am hoping to have a menu of small interactions that people can choose from, will space for people to request specific items they have conceived or record their reactions and observations and stories.

I am not interested in breast feeding people I do not know. Sorry. Outside of the fact that I find suckling to be a very intense physical, mental and emotional process that I choose to engage in within very discrete circumstances, there is also the fact that it is transferring body fluids and this always carries some potential risk (slight as it is in this case). And therefore it is something I am not prepared to engage in. End of story.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Here Comes The Rain Again

I feel matronly somehow, my chest is tingling, my tits are getting bigger and harder and soon I willno doubt be able to rest entire jugs of beer (stout of course) on them. As I wrote to my supervisor:

oh, and my milk is coming in again already! not just the odd white drop from my nipple, but that fine sticky substance that seems to ooze from the whole breast, and the pains are getting stronger, and the release at pumping getting more urgently desired, woke up and pumped in the wee small hours of the morning because i just HAD to and crying every time i do it, sort of... it is AMAZING!

Monday, March 24, 2008


(Please do pass this on to anyone else you think may be interested too)

By now most of you will be aware of Curdle, the 10 day installation piece that I am creating at Don't Look Gallery in Dulwich Hill, 9th- 19th April 2008. You will also know that this work is centred around my induced lactation project, that is, I'm going to make myself milky (again). And you are all invited to come along and use my means for our mutual ends, to collaborate and work beside me to discover, uncover and recover the many meanings of milk- and quite possibly create some new ones.

Sing lullabies to my tits, use my milk as invisible ink or glaze or paint or ice or skin or soap or coffee whitener, cast my breasts, use my pump to make music, take prints from my nipples, create sculptures from my nursing pads, sketch me or paint me at work, ask my tits questions or dress them up in drag, take measurements or film or photographs… I'm game if you are.

Although the gallery will only be open 11am-5pm each day, I will be available outside of these hours by request or whimsy. If you have a particularly long piece, or one that involves a lot of input from me outside of me doing what I would already be doing, please do contact me beforehand- it would be useful for me to have some idea of who would like to do what and when.Of course, impromptu and spontaneous acts of milky mayhem and magic are much appreciated too…

Where: 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
Opening hours: 11am-5pm, every day for the duration of the exhibition
Opening night: Wednesday 9th April 2008 6-9pm. Small informal launch.

BIG CLOSING NIGHT: Saturday April 19th, from 6pm. This is where you will be able to see some of the work produced during the installation, have a dance and a drink and a bit of a schmooze.

Contact me:www. galactablogue. blogspot. com or freelanceprovocateur@gmail.com


Books On Boobs

There is a whole site devoted to BooksOnBoobs. Check it out!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Getting Pumped

Started pumping again a few days ago, part of the slow build-upf or Curdle. Ouch, but in a good way. My breasts remember, and I think they are happy about doing it all once more? Now, to start the herbs...

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.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Breastly Boundaries

Did an interview with a dear friend today, and he was asking me all sorts of questions about how I perceived my chest, my gender, my nipples, as he writes upon such matters...

Sure he presumed I was just being vague 'cos I was a bit trashy, but it wasn't that at all, just DAMN that stuff is hard to articulate, even after having written so much and discussed so much about it all... Geez... It actually hurt to discuss it, and made me very uncomfortable, as I realised just how much of the 'bad stuff' one internalises, the 'boys don't have jiggly tits and girls don't have dangly bits' etc, despite the theorising and sitting about crapping on endlessly about it and the logical conscious 'knowing' how to deconstruct it all and being all queer and trans and whatnot... at the end of the day, its still HARD WORK to actually reconfigure the way you think of yourself, your body, your bits... Even now I am still reeling, can't quite put it into words. Just feeling unsettled, but happy that I did the interview all the same. Thanks to all those who enable me to push my boundaries, breastly and otherwise!

Labels: ,

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Nursey's Milk Chocolate

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Recipe For Induced Lactation

Take two fully-functioning breasts.

Using a manual breast pump, stimulate at least every 5 hours, day and night, for 15 minutes each time.

Motilium. Take 2 x 10mg tablets four times a day, half an hour before meals.

Fenugreek. Take 2x 1000mg tablets four times a day. Smell like maple syrup.

Water. Consume at least 3 litres a day. Pee a lot.

Calendula cream or lanolin. Apply to nipples to alleviate dryness and soreness.

Oats. Eat as much porridge as possible.

Stout. Drink with abandon.

Fennel tea. Tastes foul so drink one pot whenever you are feeling brave.

Milk thistle tea. Drink as a reward for keeping down the fennel.

Recipes and results vary according to local custom, medical advice, and individual levels of patience and persistence.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

She Spits Out Stars

My mate Mimoiselle was wielding possibly the sexiest camera ever. I was Hera, with beaded milk/star nipple tassles and big hair. There were lychees and milk and silver cachous and much spitting and dribbling, spills and splashes and sucking, dancing about and twirling around... We (ie M- I have no idea how such matters work) have yet to edit it, but it should come down to three minutes of softly-saturated colour and dreamlike food porn and a galaxy created in a fishbowl...

Abstract For A Conference Paper Yet To Be Written

Making Myself Milky: Exploring the Auto-Erotics of Induced Lactation

This paper will explore the auto-erotics of lactation, from inside a milky body. It is the result of my own induced lactation project, which I engaged in for a number of reasons- including a curiousity regarding the erotic potential of making myself milky.

'My breasts are full again and I reach for the gender-neutral coloured plastic sucking device and rhythmically squeeze my milk out into the bottle. Ten minutes each side, then unscrew the lid and drink my own sweet liquid. Aaaaah...

In certain ways it is similar to masturbation. Satisfying most of the time, a beautiful act of auto-eroticism and self-care, a treat to relieve horniness or the desire to be touched or boredom. There is a 'money shot', a release of tension, and milk is just as likely to glue your magazine pages together as most other bodily substances.'

I am eating myself out, seduced by my own juices. I do not need to connect with another body in order to lactate, I pump away on my own and consume my own body fluid. When the pump loses its grip on the breast, slips and lets milk flow over my chest or spray onto my thigh, this is erotic. When I sit naked and allow the milk to trickle and drip across my flesh, course
in viscous rivers all down my stomach, this is erotic. When I lie in the bath and squeeze my milk into the water, clouding it and softening my skin, this is erotic. The temperature, the taste, the smell, the buildup of tension, the erect nipple, the engorgement, the fullness to bursting point, the letting go of letdown, the impulses that take over and give you no option other than to give in- all of this is erotic. Female orgasm often causes lactating breasts to ejaculate their fluid, and increases the amount of milk produced. Oxytocin is released with each let down, and the hormone works on the uterus as well as the breast to produce contractions that may last up to 20 minutes beyond stimulation. The stickiness and the seepages and the spillages and the spurtings are sometimes self-servingly sexual.

Breast, Brain, And Brawn

I have just come out of a meeting with my supervisor and feel like I could easily vomit. Shaky, disassociating, almost out of body, panicked, on the verge of tears and possibly hyperventilation. And its not a bad thing at all.

I am reminded that writing is a physical process. That I need to push my body to its limits, that this is what my work is about in so many ways, the boundaries of what the body, my body, is capable of. Since I have returned to study I have felt like I should get into training, my body is craving large plates of green vegetables and litres of water and long walks and stretches before and after each bout of writing. I get incredibly hungry when I am at my desk, which I used to ascribe to boredom or procrastination until I realised that thinking uses up more kilojoules than I had ever given it credit for. Brain and brawn are not opposing forces. I'm not just writing about the body, I am writing with the body, I am writing the body. (Geez, I probably sound like a second year cultural studies student, but its one thing to know something with your mind and another to comprehend it with your flesh.)

At the moment I have much to learn and ponder about using my practice as a research methodology, and how to incorporate this into my dissertation. When I began considering including performance pieces alongside the written work I conceptualised these almost as illustrations for the text, a way of adding clarity and explanation. Now I place these works (or more the process of creating them) as the text, and the words as the way of making sense and debate of what has been said. I'm lost, a little, as have never done anything like this before, but not only does it feel right, it feels necessary.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Facebook Sucks, But Not Milky Breasts It Seems

Facebook is apparently deleting some photos of mothers breastfeeding their kids, according to this here article 'Facebook ban incurs 'lactivist' wrath'! And not only that but 'In addition to removing particular photos from the site, Facebook has permanently revoked the membership of some of the mothers.' Blah blah blah, something about them being 'obscene', blah blah blah. Grrrr!

Inducing Endurance Piece

Am thinking of upping the ante with the induced lactation project, and see how far I can push it. Its hard to find time to pump and drink milk thistle and take meds on time when working on other things- always having to sneak into toilets in your lunchbreakwith your pump in your backpack is difficult and irritating to manage. So, I am proposing that I undertake the following endurance piece. Here's a very rough sketch:

Two weeks locked in a gallery space. The first week will mostly be about the inducing itself, but hopefully by the second week I will be producing enough milk to start using the time inbetween inducing acts to make other objects and interactions.

Pump every four hours 24/7, for 30 minutes at a time.
Take maximum amounts of motillium (2 x10mg) at six-hourly intervals. Plus fenugreek tablets.
Drink one pot of fennel tea a day.
Drink one pot of milk thistle tea a day.
Consume at least 2 litres of water a day, on top of the tea intake.
Change to SuperLacto Diet, including large amounts of foods believed to be beneficial to milk production. Such as porridge, and beer.
Public can watch at any point during opening hours.

Other possible acts
Invisible Ink- see if breastmilk can be used as invisible ink. Write with quill/brush: Jeanette Winterson quote re milk-ink, Helene Cixous' 'white ink', or thoughts that have occurred to me during project. Let dry. Iron to reveal text. Record all of this in a series of black and white photographs.
Audience participation- Not sure how this will work. Can't actually feed it to them because of hygeine issues. Perhaps I can make a series of 'milk blots' to give people, or seal it in small glass capsules, like some sort of religious relic? Refer to the medieval (?) milk relics, especially the cave where folk would scrape the chalk from the walls and mix with water and claim it to be The Virgin's Milk.
Random milk art- eg Milk Graffitti (When released on last day, run around back streets and spray 'tags' on walls etc) and Milk Mirror (Using milk to trace my features on to a mirror).

Measure and weigh breasts daily at same time. Photograph?
Make a chart of amount of milk produced.
Photograph any colour changes or unusual occurences.
Freeze milk specimens for analysis (if can find someone to analysise it): end of first week, colustrum- if produced again, end of project.
Keep diary- mood changes, physical changes etc.

Other points
Should I be costumed, or just in everyday clothes?
Will I be 'on stage' all of the time, or just at the points where I am pumping or doing something specific? Would prefer as much time as possible, want to highlight the banal moments as well as the obvioulsy interesting ones.

Suitable gallery space- access to water, electricity, toilet, shower, space to sleep.
Futon/air mattress and blankies.
Tape measure and kitchen scales.
Comfy chair for pumping, preferably a rocking chair.
Digital camera.
Motillium, fenugreek, milk thistle and fennel teas, kettle, teapot and teacup.
Beer, porridge, and other 'milk making' foods.
Art supplies, as projects dictate eg iron and iron board, blotting paper, mirror.

Scrapbook of journal entries, photographs, ink blots, invisible ink texts, milk chart, chart of breast measurements and weight, milk analysis reports, motillium prescriptions etc.

Labels: ,

Flow Shows

This is a series of performance pieces I sketched out for a project in my honours year, and have not done much with yet. The Isadora piece is one I will hopefully be working on with a friend from UTS, to realise it as a short film by the end of this semester. Have posted them as they originally appeared:

Performance piece for Chapter One. This piece is a bit confusing to me still. Basically it ties to permitted/ forbidden uses of milk.

A woman is seated at a writing desk, penning a letter with quill and ink. Her breasts are full, spilling over her gown and leaking milk into the inkpot. She continues to write, and we see that as her pen flows across the page the words disappear underneath her hand. In the next scene a housewife is doing the ironing with a baby at her feet when there is a knock at the door. She takes delivery of the letter, opens it and stares at the blank page. Returning to her post she places the letter on the board and runs the iron across it. The message appears, and the audience reads it: 'Please burn after reading'.

Performance piece for Chapter Two. This piece draws its inspiration from the film La Strada. In this Anthony Quinn plays a carnival strongman, with a specialty of breaking himself out of the chains that confine his chest by flexing his muscles. I will attempt to draw the correlation between the strength inherent in these two monstrous bodies- the traditionally 'strong' body and that of the lactating body. I have deliberately made both characters in the piece male, as to either show a lactating woman or a gender-swap is not only rather obvious but defeats the notion of sameness/aberrance in the one body. This will be echoed later when discussing Bakhtin's carnival's 'sacred with the profane, the lofty with the low' and so on. These links may be made more blatant in the final piece if I feel that they are not easily readable.

The setting is a freak show of the old Barnum and Bailey kind. In scene one, we are shown a strongman standing in front of his audience. His arms are behind his back and his torso bound in chains. Huffing and puffing he flexes his chest, and the links begin to break one by one until he frees himself and the chains lie ruined at his feet. We then move to the next tent, another man is bound in exactly the same predicament. His chest is bare, and his nipples poke through the restraints. Huffing and puffing, he flexes the muscles in his chest. Milk begins to pour from his breasts, and as he writhes against the chains the lubrication allows him to slip from his shackles. The chains lie on the floor, intact yet defeated.

Performance piece. This piece is based on the Isadora Duncan anecdote quoted earlier, and also the 'money shot'/climax device in pornography. It is intended to provide some cohesion and summary of the three key themes of the paper.

A woman is on stage, or perhaps not, as we cannot see the audience or surrounds. She is wearing a 'classical' tunic-type dress, and she dances slowly. The music is either Patti Smith's 'Summer Cannibals' or an African drum piece. As she dances, stains begin to appear at her breasts. The music becomes faster, her dancing more furious. The dams burst, her milk courses in rivers down the front of her dress, makes the fabric cling, forms puddles on the floor, she slips and slides but still keeps dancing until the music stops. She collapses, her resources spent. Dried up.


White Tears

(From September 8th 2007)

Woke up this morning with a microdyke in my bed (not like THAT, promise) and the stirring of a hangover and the horrible realisation that I had to be at work in about half and hour. Arrgh! Microdyke left, I tried to make coffee but we had no soy milk, and no butter to put on my toast, and so I had some quick Hitachi fun to wake myself up and crawled to the bus stop looking like death with no makeup and bloodshot eyes and starving hungry and seriously lacking in caffeine.Turned up to work an hour and a half late shaky and clutching a double shot soy latte with two sugars from the new cafe on the corner. I swear, sometimes I feel just like a baby sucking on a tit when I wrap my lips around the plastic lid and fill my mouth with frothy warm milk- VERY satisfying!

Started crying on my way to the shop, and had to hide out the back and look for sympathy from my workmates for half an hour before I could face doing any real work. Couldn't work out why, was just SAD. Everything black and weird. Thought maybe was simply exhaustion and hangover and latent grief combined, but when the fog cleared later a few things occurred to me. 'Close to the water' Zoo+ breaking out adolescent skin Zoo+lumpish strangely bloated Zoo+ horny all the time Zoo might just = LACTATING HORMONALLY HAYWIRE ZOO. Tits are achy, and hurt when I pump, a real ready-to-burst feeling, but frustrating as hardly any liquid to show for it yet. Hopefully it will come soon, its like waiting for blood or orgasms or ... 'It's torture, but I'm almost there' (The Cure).

Stinking Hearts

(From August 20th 2007)

Puppy me, I was loathe to lose Nathalie's scent, her muddy hair and the bitter grapes behind her ears, the tart fresh-cut cactus taste she left on my hands.

- Felicia Luna Lemus
'Like Son' (152)

It seems to be that when I am lactating I become more accutely alert to scents. Everything is heady and thick, the sickly sweet deodorants signalling the first sign of spring and the adolescent aftershaves of first year undergraduates. I can sniff out the diets of fellow commuters on my morning train, detect the contents ofplastic grocery bags and crumpled trousers. Its a state I associate with pregnancy, a hyper-sensitivity, the regular fragrances of life suddenly making the expectant one gag and swoon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My Cups Runneth Over

My breasts are heavy, they are bigger and ache and feel 'full' again. I am supposed to start pumping and popping milk-pills soon, in order to be ready for an upcoming show, but haven't started yet... I wonder what is provoking these changes? I have found myself in a few discussions around mothers and maternity lately, be it in relation to my own desires and options (or not) for pregnancy and parenting, the influence (or not) of our mothers on our personalities and peculiarities. Are my breasts responding to a desire to nurture?

And if so, who do they want to nurture? A past girlfriend of mine was adopted, and when I let her suckle from me it was often a somehow bittersweet experience, an attempt on both our parts to make up for some lack (not so much physical as emotional as a bonding and comforting. The kiss on a grazed knee, the skirts to hide behind). And a recent playmate provoked a similar inkling in me, an urge to compensate for past losses (mine to mother, zirs to be mothered). But then, with so much death and diseases around me of late, perhaps the desire is less specifically linked to an individual and more to provide solace and sustenance to my whole community? Or myself?

Whatever the cause, the response is quite intense. It HURTS. My shirtbuttons are straining to hold back my milky tides, I am getting the surging pains that signify that first wave of letdown as I type this. And the tears too are swelling up, my dams are all threatening to burst...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Milked Dry

Oh dear, looks like I didn't post this piece when I wrote it. Pretend it is April 24th.

On Friday I gave a paper at the Somatechnics conference held byMacquarie University. It was a highly personal account of my inducedlactation project, part blog entry, spoken word piece, anecdote,reflection on my motivations and musing on things I had read and founduseful or provocative. It was well received, and I had many a flattering comment and mind-melting question from the brilliant andvery generous audience of academics and activists. I stumbled my way through question time, and came out with much to consider in terms ofwhere my research should be directed. Currently my thinking is that I need to read a LOT of work on body art and performance and see if I can angle my thesis in that general direction.

Then it was time to head off to do my Divine Bovine show at Hellfire.The visuals didn't work, the cling wrap didn't cling, and my left tit proved Mayhem's theory that it is indeed the shyer of my breasts by refusing to squirt milk AT ALL (just a mere dribble, even after heatpacks and threats and grovelling, though was working fine the nextday). But somehow it came together well in the end, and as my friend and collaborater Mimoiselle told me later 'Consensus says 10 out of 10hot chicks agree your performance was awesome'. Certainly I seemed to get an incredible amount of feedback from the crowd afterwards, all of it positive. For those who didn't make it, or were so bewildered by it that you can't remember what happened, here is a brief run-down:

First song was Patti Smith's 'Summer Cannibals'. Came out dressed inblack and white paper mache cow mask of my own making, blue/red/whitestriped butcher's apron, tail, half-white half-black wig with wired plaits. Walked through the crowd, then across stage on all fours,stood up on my back legs, danced about. Grabbed a meat cleaver, waved it around, threatened a sweet young audience plant with it and then lifted my apron to reveal cow-bells haging from my labia piercings and made her 'go down' on me. My cohort in crime, Hunter, resplendent in white shirt and half blue/white butcher's apron, chased me about the stage with a meat tenderiser and gave my arse a little pounding. I stripped off my apron to reveal that I was painted up like a side ofbeef with MEAT written on my left tit and CARCASS down my right thigh(thanks to Y for the artwork). Then I pulled on some black latexgloves, grabbed a scalpel and cut the word EAT across my stomach.Hunter tried to wrap me in cling wrap, but it was all too slippery and didn't work- but still got the point across I think? MeatZoo. Second song came on, The Cramps' 'Strychnine'. Ripped off cow mask to reveal face all drawn up like meat too, danced about, sprayed milk at the audience, on me, in my mouth, on glass window at back of stage, over Hunter, fed Hunter etc. To conclude the show I proceeded to grab three milk bottles, only half full, that said 'Have You Seen MooZoo? Call1800-Divine-Bovine' on one side and 'Pick'/'Your'/Poison on the other.Downed the milk, dribbling it everywhere, pouring over myself etc.Last bottle ('Poison') was full of pinky-red milk which I tipped over my head. Still had a few seconds left of song so rubbed my wounds and milk all over Hunter's lovely white shirt.

Afterwards was a complete maniac, hyped up and bouncing about wildly from one person to the next, holding thoughts for approximately 5 seconds if I was lucky, babbling and generally acting scatty in post-performance-shock. When I was finally able to articulate mythoughts a little I remarked to Nattie The Flattie that I felt like I had been flayed alive. Totally vulnerable and exposed, emotionally, physically, mentally.

This is not academia, this is not performance. This is ZOO, me, withskin and mind and nipple leaking my secrets to the world.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Powdered Milk

At an exhibition opening earlier this week I struck up a conversation with one of the artists about our respective work. When I discussed my lactation project, she told me that she was breastfeeding her child at the time her own grandmother died, and as she cleaned out the matriarch's effects she came across her compact. For motivations unknown to me, she pressed the makeup to her breast, and the scent of her own milk mingled with the scent of her grandmother's face powder... As with much I have encountered this week, this story released a flood of emotions in me. The use of milk in beauty products, the lifeless powder damp with the lifegiving milk, the passing down of feminine rites and rituals...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Breasts and Chests

This is from my personal blog (mildly edited), but seemed relevent to post it here somehow:

It is possibly pure coincidence that the week I started pumping and upping my dosage of milk-making drugs to increase my supply is the very same week that I collected my first chest binder from a friend. So my bewildered breasts don't know whether they are coming or going- one minute they are encouraged to grow larger and tingly and milkily exuberant with letdown, only to be squished into flat silence beneath my tshirt the next. Haven't worn the binder out in public yet, but put it on as soon as I came home the night I received it and... well... I don't know if it was physical or psychological effect, or both, but the intense pressure was quite arousing, like moderate breast bondage, and then to look down at a (relatively) flat chest... I do believe I'm going to like this a lot. Just have to remember not to fall asleep for the night in it, as rather uncomfortable the next day *ouch*.

Divine Bovine

Hellfire is on April 20th at The Gaff (Oxford St, Darlinghurts), and my show should be around 1am I think. Here's what you are up for:

Calling all dairymaids and cowboys! It'll be warmer than fresh milk at April's Hellfire, as MooZoo takes the bull by the horns in herlatest incarnation as Divine Bovine. Unrefridgerated, unpasteurised,unhomogenised and unholy, this sacred cow will leave you udderlymoo-ved as she slices and suckles her way from the belly to the breast of the beast. Marinated in her own juices, slipping and sliding acrossthe slaughterhouse floor to stir your loins and plump you rump. Meat,Your Mother.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Nipple Breath

Another brilliant baby's shirt from TShirthell. I don't like their politics, but damn, I LOVE their lacto fascination!

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Rundown on last night's Velvet (fundrasier for AIDS Council of NSW) show...
Costumes: Whoretic was delightfully dressed in multiple 'flesh-toned' and pale pink sturdy foundation garments, a sweet little embroidered apron, pink headscarf, magnificently large hair, high heels with demure bows, a pink pout, an enormous pair of gold eyelashes and carried a picnic basket full of cookies. I was tastefully attired in 'flesh-toned' granny knickers, red and blue curlers, a blue headscarf, blue plastic beads, red collar, diamantes, red knee-high fishnets printed with blue and white flowers, black heels (ouch) and the piece de resistance- LactoBoobies constructed from plastic party-tits and baby bottles and attached to a red gingham apron.
Action: We wandered through the crowd offering people Milk'N'Cookies. If one accepted, and most did, Whoretic would place a cookie between her tits. Then after asking whether one preferred cow-milk or soy-juice, I would soak the cookie with it (and often much of Whoretic). Then the choice was theirs- either consume the cookies straight from her cleavage or use their fingers. Ended up very messy and sticky, but delicious!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Its An Ill Breast That Gives No Milk

A combination of illness, not pumping enough (partially because my pump broke *boo*), temporarily running out of meds, and possibly all the antibiotics I've been taking left me a little lacking in the milk department of late. But now I'm feeling much better and returned to a more 'normal' routine, and my milk has come back in. Which means that my breasts are in a constant state of flux. Practically non-existant at some points, big and bouncy at others, pushing tight against my clothing or just hanging around at a loose end. Strange thing is that often this seems to have no relation to how full of milk they actually are, or how long it has been since I have pumped. Makes me more grateful than ever that I don't bother with a bra, as I would have to change it three times a day to make sure it even vaguely fitted.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Greek Letters

For the Greeks the hidden life demanded invisible ink. They wrote an ordinary letter and in between the lines set out another letter, written in milk. The document looked innconet enough until one who knew better sprinkled coal-dust over it. What the letter had been no longer mattered; what mattered was the life flaring up underneath.

- Jeanette Winterson
'Sexing The Cherry (10)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Christina The Astonishing

Without delay, when she turned her eyes to herself, she saw that the dry paps of her virginal breasts were dripping sweet milk against the very law of nature. Wondrous thing! Unheard of in all the centuries since the incomparable Mother of God!

Because of her piety and faith, God gave Christina sustenance. Yet he does not give her the ordinary and often polluted food of mortals, which sometimes tasted to her as though she was "swallowing the bowels of frogs and toads or the intestines of snakes". He does not shower her with a holy food such as manna. Instead, God gives her something even more holy: her own breast milk. From this, Christina's holiness becomes similar to none other than "the incomparable Mother of God!"-who, also a virgin, breast-fed the baby Jesus.

-Thomas De Cantimpre

Pumped Up Dads

Not really sure what this Pumped Up Dads piece is all in aid of really- maybe just an excuse for men to play with their nipples? This is what they say about it :)

'Description: At the dadlabs we believe you should do everything in your
power to understand what she, the breastfeeding mom, is going through.
We put our beliefs to the Breast Pump 101 test. Wonder what it must feel
like to get hooked up to a breast pump? Maybe you should. Daddy Clay and
Daddy Brad perform a controlled experiment to increase their
understanding of this ordeal. Gain insight into what breastfeeding
working moms go through every day. And wonder what the hell the DadLabs
guys were thinking."

Cheese Queen

I placed the milk in a bowl and when that was done the idea came to me to make a small homemade cheese out of it. The old man had given me some rennet and I stirred this into my milk and then let the mixture set. Afterwards I tied the mixture up in a small muslin bag over the sink and let it drip.

The cheese tasted mild and slightly watery. I spread it on some bread and sprinkled salt over it to bring out the flavour and when I had finished I lay down on the bed with the child beside me in her cot.

-Angelica Jacob

A friend of a friend is apparently keen to make cheese out of human breastmilk. And I am most keen to do see what I taste like as boccocini or brie... This project would require a serious increase in production on my part though! Lately I have become lazy and only pumping once a day and taking a bare minimum of supplements- just keeping it going until I work out what to do next. Milk still there, enough to put in tea or serve in shot glasses and spray across the room at unsuspecting folk, but its more a matter of mouthfuls than cupfuls.
Strange, as I have been typing this I can feel my breast swelling and tingly and getting tighter. They say that many women experience this sensation when they hear a baby cry, but with me it seems to be either thinking of cheese (or thinking of eating myself as cheese?), that gets my breasts ready for production.