boobscape back to the studio

time to get back into the studio… time to follow the worldly entanglements this work is leading me through.  An excerpt of my recent talk below reveals some of these – and there are many more leaky strands, further twists and knots gather in the possibilities and limitations of species blurring, multi-species nurturing, bio-economies, and mammal-free milk, art histories and feminist art practices, and the environmental impacts on the more-than-human world we inhabit.  I hope to find somewhere to exhibit this envisage large scale work in 2018.

boobscape: the breasts bud and form and mutate; there are supernumerary teats, prepubescent nipples, worn nipples, breasts, multiple mammaries, and mammal mammary lactations. Calves can be born with an extra teat, a supernumerary teat, a sprig or a web teat, these are removed because they can interfere with future milk collection practices. They can be cut off with scissors, the code recommends but does not enforce pain relief. Teats are unwanted items in leather production, waste by-products. These additional growth like teats, multiple nipples budding are also forms that incorporate the more than animal world.

Leaking Lactations: This is not the dripping wet performativity of abjection, this is not where abjection lies in this work. Although abjection lurks around, in those leaky nipples, those pendulous maternal breasts, paying homage to the maternal foremothers of the monstrous feminine, but I step carefully around the abyss of abjection, to avoid reproducing the abjection of the animal body, and to avoid what Imogen Tyler calls those “histories of violent disgust towards maternal bodies”[1]

There is an art historical lineage of multiple breasts, and breast-feeding by humans and animals – animals feeding humans and humans feeding humans, all kinds of interspecies feedings, nuturings and sucklings. Folk stories tell of lost children raised by bears, wolves. Suckling goes both ways, but these knowledges mostly in the realm of internet fascination and fetishisation.  Interspecies suckling like adults drinking human breast milk – is a site of taboo, myth, metaphor and humour. Societal abjection dwells in the revolt and disgust that circulates around whose milk? the naturalised drinking of the mammary fluids of particularly culturally approved domesticated mammal species, the ‘horror’ of accidentally drinking human breast milk, the outrage at women breast feeding in public, breasts in the wrong places, or breast feeding an infant for too many years, or breast feeding other species,[2] who is it okay to feed? who is it okay to milk?

When I blur the boundaries between species I see a history that has animal and human-animal suckling closely entwined, although these are no utopian spaces, human needs  surmounting animal needs. Opting[3] out of breast feeding historically was based on class and wealth and necessity, both animals and humans have served as wet nurses. Bottle feeding formula, once an emergency supplement, was marketed as the healthy Dr’s choice, emancipating women from the labour of child raising, while depending upon the domination and exploitation of another species. While it was possible in the eighties to say that the “chemical and immunological characteristics of milk were highly species specific, so that attempts to ‘humanise’ ruminant milks were something of a biochemical nonsense”[4] Advances in biotechnology have changed this, and while transgenic cows are still aspirational, the demand for milk formulas will ensure that experiments such as those in 2011 in which 300 cows were given human genes in order to produce human breast milk will continue.[5]

[1] Imogen Tyler – What is ‘social abjection’? available online https://socialabjection.wordpress.com/what-is-social-abjection/

[2] Breast-feeding of Animals by Women: Its Socio-Cultural Context and Geographic Occurrance, Frederick J Simoons, James A Baldwin, Anthropos, 77, 1982

[3] http://domesticgeekgirl.com/health-home/history-baby-formula-emergency-baby-food-became-everyday-meal-babies-america/

[4] ‘Reproduction in Mammals: Vol 3, Hormonal control of reproduction’, Austin & Short, Cambridge Uni Press, 1984, 228

[5] (Daily Mail article/reuters etc. 16/6/11 Classical Medicine Journal (14 April 2010). “Genetically modified cows producing human milk.”. Archived from the original on 2014-11-06. Also – Argentina ‘Rosita’ a transgenic cows Cows – Yapp, Robin (11 June 2011). “Scientists create cow that produces ‘human’ milk”. The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 15 June 2012.)”

 

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New edition: Neither Man Nor Beast

Fabulous news – my work slink (as installed for SPOM: Sexual Politics of Meat Exhibition, The Animal Museum, LA 2017) is one of the works Carol J Adams is including in the new Bloomsbury Revelations Edition of ‘Neither Man Nor Beast: Feminism and the Defense of Animals’ 1994.  Due out in April 2018, this work in which Adams considers abortion rights and animals rights, antiracism work and speciesism, theological issues, animal experimentation, sexual violence and injury to animals, and other issues at the intersection of feminism and animal defense, will feature artworks by myself, Sunaura Taylor, Nava Atlas, Yvette Watt, Susan Kae Grant and Kyle Tafoya.  So honoured to be in this book, and in such great company.

in defence of animals cover .jpg

Animal Intersections

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I’ll be presenting on the Art Panel at Animal Intersections #AASA2017, The University of Adelaide on Monday 3 July.  Also a new installation/iteration of my work boobscape, 2017 will be featured in the exhibition of the same name being held at The Peanut Gallery and Nexus Arts between 4-16 July, Adelaide.  More info coming soon.

SPOM: Sexual Politics of Meat at The Animal Museum

I’ve just returned from 9 days in LA installing my work in The Sexual Politics of Meat exhibition at The Animal Museum, Arts District, DTLA.  This exhibition follows on from the book The Art of the Animal, Lantern Press, 2015.  The event opened on Saturday 25th, and the museum hosted a colloquium on Sunday 26th featuring a talk by Carol Adams (author of The Sexual Politics of Meat) and followed by a panel discussion led by Stephen Eisenmann with the artists present.  The exhibition continues until mid-April.

The exhibition opening was covered by Jane Velez-Mitchell (Jane Unchained) and I have an interview in this portion: https://www.facebook.com/JaneVelezMitchell/videos/10158268492465693/ and a preview in the Huffington Post by Ellen Kanner http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/meatless-monday-the-art-of-the-animal-the-sexual_us_58a38d3ce4b0e172783aa1e

Here’s some installation shots of my work – I showed a new iteration of boobscape, 2016-17 and slink, 2014.

 

My trip to LA was made possible by an Australian Artist’s Grant:

The Australian Artists’ Grant is a NAVA initiative, made possible through the generous sponsorship of Mrs Janet Holmes à Court and the support of the Visual Arts Board, Australia Council for the Arts.

Boobscape (leather symbol)

boobscape-with-threads

Finished up this new work – a boobscape in the format of the leather symbol – bringing the link between the slink series and boobscape closer together.  An iteration of this piece will be shown at Selvedge as part of Melbourne Fashion Festival.

I had been considering incorporating the sea anemones floor pieces – however, I think I will leave it plain and threaded – as there is more research work to do incorporating the issue of agricultural pollution on waterways/water-creatures, and those strange little half plant, half animal carnivorous creatures (anemones).

SPOM – Sexual Politics of Meat Exhibition

spom

The Sexual Politics of Meat Exhibition is coming up soon at The Animal Museum.  The exhibition itself will run from 26 February till 30 April 2017.  I’ll be there for the install and opening weekend – and I’m thrilled at the line up of events – http://theanimalmuseum.com/events/spom-opening-weekend/

The Sexual Politics of Meat Exhibition: Opening Weekend Festivities

“How does someone become something?” – Fourteen contemporary women artists ask and explore this very question through a variety of media in The Sexual Politics of Meat, a landmark and thought-provoking exhibition presented by The Animal Museum and curated by Kathryn Eddy, Janell O’Rourke, and L.A. Watson.

EXHIBITION PROGRAMMING
Join us for an insightful weekend with the legendary Carol J. Adams, author of The Sexual Politics of Meat, Dr. Stephen F. Eisenman, and the exhibition curators and artists.

OPENING RECEPTION
With special guests: SPOM author Carol J. Adams, Dr. Stephen F. Eisenman (author, The Cry of Nature: Art and the Making of Animal Rights), Martin Rowe (Lantern Books), and the exhibition curators and artists. PLUS live jazz music from Stray Dog Song, wine, beer and vegan bites.

SUNDAY COLLOQUIUM:
2 to 3:30 PM
“The history of the sexual politics of meat slide show: working with ARTISTS, liberating ideas and oppressive images” presented by Carol J. Adams, followed by a Q&A

The Slide Show provides an ecofeminist analysis of the interconnected oppressions of sexism, racism, and speciesism by exploring the way popular culture draws on dominant Western philosophical viewpoints regarding race, gender, and species. It identifies how meat has been a valued masculine-identified protein source and the ways that assumptions about meat eating reinforce a gender binary. It proposes that many meat advertisements are conduits for hate-speech against women and also that they offer ways to encode “whiteness” without being explicit.

4 to 5:00 PM
“Women, Animals, and Art” Panel Discussion
A rousing discussion with Carol J. Adams, the curators, and artists that address the theories found within the book. Panel moderator: Dr. Stephen Eisenman, author of The Cry of Nature: Art and the Making of Animal Rights