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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

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concept                                           research & ethical questions                                  performance  

“Milk is a symbol of pleasure and ecstasy yet, precisely because of its primary function, it has remained unmarked as both a political and performative tool”1

Lactating Bodies is imagined as a ritual that will enact what Judith Butler calls the 'right to appear'2 of lactating bodies within the public sphere, challenging the notion that lactation should be confined to the private sphere and reframing it as a form of embodied labor. 

For this performance, I will engage the people who are the “first concerned” within the very process of creation in order to give them a central role in determining for themselves the conditions in which they will appear: modalities and scenarios of a performance will be elaborated together with lactating mothers/people.

The performance stands between a poetic gesture of commoning the intimate body labor and a political position that shifts from the economy to the ecology of artistic practice. It is intended as an institutional critique and reflection of care practices and social impact in the cultural institutions. We aim to create a comforting and non-rigid ambience,  a safe space for lactating persons to engage in a lactation process. 

In opposition to the condensed time and space of a stage performance, Lactating bodies rethinks an exhibition as a live piece that unfolds in relation with temporal, spatial, and perceptual conditions of an art institution.


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1  Sexual Politics of Milk, Barbara Formis, The Journal of Somaesthetics Vol. 2, Nos. 1 and 2 (2016)

 Judith Butler, Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015

Related artworks


Untitled (Twijfelaar)

bed, milk, 2019​

Katya Ev (ekaterina vasilyeva), Untitled (the dwell), view of the show at Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris, 2010

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.

with support of 

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