F* you, babies is a mother’s book with pages of babies as text, where you push a button and a woman’s words play.
Painted vinyl, wire, vinyl, paper, and thread on vinyl and acetate.
For South Dakota was just accepted into the International Museum of Women exhibition, ‘Imagining Equality’.
I created For South Dakota in response to the 2006 proposed ban on all abortions in the state of South Dakota. I heard the ruling through news media and went directly and immediately to my studio. I had just given birth to my fourth child and I was mired in work and diapers and sleepless nights. For me, the ban was so personal. The enforced act of giving birth against one’s will is untenable and a giant crime. I was so overcome by the magnitude of this potentiality that I had no words. I felt the violence of being silenced – the silencing of the body – and the only way to regain my voice was to create this work. Women must always have access to abortion. All women, across time and space.
Equality exists in the spaces between compassion, awareness and access and becomes reality when your body can live there.
This is a photograph of the veilshroud layout for F* you, babies. You can’t see the entire span of the ‘wings’, but this does show the layout top to almost bottom. The babies ringed in white are paper cut-outs – babies that still need to be drawn and cut-out of the plastic shower curtain and then painted black. I have 104 done; 143 to go. I’ll make as many as I can this week and next week Lisa and I will start attaching them together.
I am making about a million babies this week for the shroudveil for F* you, babies. A dear friend pointed this out: “That’s a little over one and a half baby-makes per second, 24 hours a day, for 7 days.
YOU WOULD BE AWESOME!!”
This is Lisa’s working version of the baby chain for F* you, babies. The babies are forming a ‘spine’ down the middle and ‘wings’ on the sides so the veil will drape well when I wear it. These are copies on paper of the actual plastic babies.
With the help of Lisa Escobar, I am going to turn the babies into a veil. The babies will be sewn together; maybe through rivets; maybe attached to a clear plastic material first. I am going to wear the veil in a live performance that embodies the feelings of constraint and restraint that mark my experience of mothering my children. The main technical concerns will be the strength of the sewn-together babies – so that I can pull, stretch, etc. the veil; and the drape of the finished veil – how well does it hang and function as a piece of material.