Lactating Bodies (ongoing research)
2023 - onwards
participatory performative practices, ethical, legal & socio-economic research, exploration of the human milk as a sculptural medium
Image by Katya Ev
“Does milk (here, specifically breastmilk) somehow make or remake the experience of modernity or postmodernity? Who is reminded that they are a ‘human-animal’, and how does this reminding occur? And if these questions reveal some of milk’s unexpected aspects [..]1
Human milk is a highly gendered bodily "product" that can be consumed, given away or sold. The very concept of milk is, as a primary food, the paradigm of purity, gift and innocence. However, milk is particular in that, unlike other foods, it is also a form of body labor. Breastfeeding and milk pumping are generally invisibilized (if not impossible) gestures in the public sphere and in professional contexts. At the same time, lactation is advocated in European countries as a moral requirement and a strong social norm
The idea of ‘lactation’ is most commonly associated with breast-feeding whereas ‘milk expression’ - removing the milk manually or with a machine - remains an impensé and surrounded by an even stronger taboo although pumping milk is actually absolutely essential to successful lactation and very commonly used by mothers.
1 Jeanne Firth, ‘A Month of Our Own: Amplifying Women’s Voices on LSE Review of Books’, 2018
bed, milk, 2019
Untitled (The dwell)
bed, milk, 2009
Back then I used cow milk and the work could only exist as long as the milk remains fresh. Following several occasions to re-exhibit this initial piece (2009) way later in time, I questioned myself for the overuse of cow milk for both political and ecological reasons. This self-critique directed me towards human milk.