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 Giving Birth As Performance Art
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 10/14/2011 :  17:07:42  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have defended so much art over the years, not for being quality art, but for just being appropriately categorized as "art". Ever since I had to establish an opinion on the matter in Aesthetics class in college, I have concluded that anything that is presented as "art" is appropriately categorized as art.

This is NOT to say it is good art. Just that it is art.

So today I read about some really shitty art involving a stupid stunt.

Enter the very pregnant performance artist Marni Kotak, who is transforming the Microscope Gallery into a home-birth center where she will turn the birth of her baby into a work of art. Her exhibit "The Birth of Baby X" kicks off her long-term project "Raising Baby X," which will document her child's upbringing "from birth through attending college and developing an independent life," according to her website.


Why do I call this shitty art? During a class required for my Masters in Fine Arts, we had an assignment to create a work of Modernist art, and the create a work of Postmodern art in response. One of the students did a truly expressive, life-sized, charcoal drawing of his father-in-law. Then, for his postmodern response, he brought in his actual father-in-law who simply stood there in front of us as a work of art. The teacher went all gaga for this. I found it rather obvious. Not exactly the first time actual human beings have been presented in a gallery as part of a art exhibit or performance.

I later had a conversation with that student. He seemed to be bothered by his own project and was trying to put into words what bothered him. We talked it through and figured it out. The idea is that if you create a work of art about a subject, say, a person, you elevate the significance of that person in the eyes of the viewer. Doing so provokes the audience into attempting to understand what about the subject was important enough to address with art. But when we present real life as art, it has the opposite effect. Real life people (both the viewers and performers) end up having an experience that is mitigated by the self awareness and analysis invited by it also being a performance.

For what it is worth, I think this works when the performance art is used for political or social stunts - in those cases the performance may not transcend anything, but it at least has a message. Just taking a very personal and common experience like birthing a baby and turning it into a public experience purely for its own sake, well, that just smacks of exhibitionism to me. I fail to see how this performance says anything, much less transcends anything.

In addition, this is a stupid stunt. The artist is an idiot:
In "The Birth of Baby X," I will be completely engrossed in the act of giving birth before a live audience. I will be focused on delivering my child into the world in the healthiest manner possible, rather than on how I look or what the audience may think. Everything I have learned about the birth process is that the more you surrender your mind and don't try to control the event, but let your body do what it naturally knows how to do, the better your labor progresses. This, to me, provides for the most authentic performance art situation. And the ultimate creation of this life performance will be a living being!
There is no evidence that surrendering your mind results in a better labor process. Letting your body do what it naturally does will not prevent abnormalities in the size or position of the baby or in the pelvis or structures that support it. It will not help if the cord is wrapped around the baby's neck or if the placenta does not have enough oxygen stored to supply the baby during labor. It won't prevent infections that pose a danger to the child. Women surrendering to their bodies isn't what has drastically reduced the number of women ad babies who die in childbirth.

This idiot's named influences - Marina Abramovic, Hannah Wilke, Chris Burden, Vito Acconci, and Carolee Schneeman - never risked the life and health of an innocent baby for the sake of their art. I feel bad for this kid who is going to have his or her whole life on display for the sake of mom's ego and career.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 10/15/2011 :  12:18:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
"Next performance will be in 9 months"

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
Edited by - Dr. Mabuse on 10/15/2011 12:19:52
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 10/15/2011 :  12:19:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The sequel will the real Truman Show.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 10/15/2011 :  12:34:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

The sequel will the real Truman Show.
Ohhhh.. Good one!

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2830 Posts

Posted - 10/15/2011 :  23:38:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I guess calls of "Oncore, oncore!" from the audience will be ignored ofter the show, unless,,,, she's carrying a surprise twin. Now that would bring rave reviews.
Hay Marni! Break a leg. SS

There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2011 :  22:24:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I just wrote a more extensive critical review of this on my parenting blog. Enjoy.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 10/25/2011 :  06:17:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Please tell me she didn't get an NEA grant.

I could be OK with the lady who got a grant for performance art where she smeared chocolate all over her nude body, but willfully placing her child at risk because of some exibitionist hangup of hers is unconsciencable.

Make no mistake, I consider "live birth as performance art" to be mere exhibitionism.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 10/25/2011 :  07:04:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The NEA stopped fellowships to individual visual artists back in the 90's after the controversies largely surrounding Robert Maplethorpe's "X Portfolio" and Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ". Artists can only receive funds from the NEA for specific project proposals or through acceptance to residencies or other programs funded by the NEA.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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justintime
BANNED

382 Posts

Posted - 10/25/2011 :  14:29:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send justintime a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by marfknox

I just wrote a more extensive critical review of this on my parenting blog. Enjoy.

That was a well written critique. I don't know how many men can stand watching natural childbirth without being repulsed at the sight, much less see the artistry in motion.

For men to see their object of such climatic sexual pleasure stretched to incredulous disproportionate disgust. The emergence of a matted set of hair on a full head.

I think it drives men to anal sex so they do not have to deal with this traumatic experience again.

I opt for cesarean. I had no exploratory ambition to stick my head in and complete the portrait that I met my two boys half way.
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 10/25/2011 :  19:59:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
justintime wrote:
That was a well written critique.
Funny - from the rest of your comments, it doesn't seem like you actually read or understood my criticisms. You just wanted to make some more gross, sexist comments, and are using this topic as a excuse.

I don't know how many men can stand watching natural childbirth without being repulsed at the sight, much less see the artistry in motion.

For men to see their object of such climatic sexual pleasure stretched to incredulous disproportionate disgust. The emergence of a matted set of hair on a full head.
Sounds like a personal problem.

My criticisms had nothing to do with that. In fact, this performance has nothing to do with that since no one is required to view it. You could say the same thing about an educational video or illustrated book about childbirth.

The rest of your trolling doesn't deserve a response.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 10/25/2011 :  20:31:09   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by justintime
I think it drives men to anal sex so they do not have to deal with this traumatic experience again.
You have strange ideas.
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sailingsoul
SFN Addict

2830 Posts

Posted - 10/26/2011 :  06:35:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send sailingsoul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
She delivered the baby, without an oncore or raved reviews. No mention as to if there was even an audience. SS

edit to add this link with photo's. I wish her, her new baby and husband the best that the future can bring and congratulations.

There are only two types of religious people, the deceivers and the deceived. SS
Edited by - sailingsoul on 10/26/2011 06:52:51
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 10/26/2011 :  11:05:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the update SS.

Kotak has said she hopes people will see that giving birth is what she calls "the highest form of art."


Yay, empty, meaningless rhetoric.

It sickens me that a lot of people think this is feminism on display. All any woman needs to do to give birth is be in the lucky majority that have a functioning reproductive system, have sex during ovulation, then be in the lucky majority who survive pregnancy and childbirth. I've known 13 year old dropouts who have successfully done this. Wow, what an accomplishment. Huzzah for womanhood. *rolls eyes*

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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Fripp
SFN Regular

USA
727 Posts

Posted - 10/26/2011 :  11:13:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Fripp a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by justintime


I think it drives men to anal sex so they do not have to deal with this traumatic experience again.




Your obsession with anal sex speaks volumes...

"What the hell is an Aluminum Falcon?"

"Oh, I'm sorry. I thought my Dark Lord of the Sith could protect a small thermal exhaust port that's only 2-meters wide! That thing wasn't even fully paid off yet! You have any idea what this is going to do to my credit?!?!"

"What? Oh, oh, 'just rebuild it'? Oh, real [bleep]ing original. And who's gonna give me a loan, jackhole? You? You got an ATM on that torso LiteBrite?"
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Fripp
SFN Regular

USA
727 Posts

Posted - 10/26/2011 :  11:43:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Fripp a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You're obviously not a parent. While videos of other people's births is a viewing experience I do not want to repeat, both times watching my daughters be born brought me to tears of joy. They were incredible experiences and far from traumatic. And my wife and I's "romantic" life wasn't affected in the slightest.

Perhaps you should refrain from speaking on topics about which you know nothing.

"What the hell is an Aluminum Falcon?"

"Oh, I'm sorry. I thought my Dark Lord of the Sith could protect a small thermal exhaust port that's only 2-meters wide! That thing wasn't even fully paid off yet! You have any idea what this is going to do to my credit?!?!"

"What? Oh, oh, 'just rebuild it'? Oh, real [bleep]ing original. And who's gonna give me a loan, jackhole? You? You got an ATM on that torso LiteBrite?"
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 10/26/2011 :  11:54:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just updated my blog about it.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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