I've been developing this project since joining the Barbican Young Visual Arts Group last year. HIVE (a distant hum) was featured in a weekend-long exhibition, Common Ground, at the Barbican Centre in May.
Further information: https://www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2018/event/common-ground
This multi-media installation explores the fragility and vulnerability of existence, challenging our understanding of ourselves and those we share the world with. Inspired by the global decline of honeybee populations, HIVE (a distant hum) enacts tensions between science and nature by considering the ways in which technology interacts with bodies in a modern world.
This project was developed through biotechnical research into ‘RoboBees’; pollinating mechanical drones currently being developed in America. Inspired by the biology of real bees, RoboBees have potential uses in crop pollination, environmental monitoring and surveillance. In this work we consider the implications of using biological systems and organisms to develop products.
Sculpture, sound and projection combine to construct a large metallic honeycomb slat, representing a fragment of an industrial ‘hive’.This is a liminal space, part- beehive, part-laboratory, part-factory, in which boundaries between humans, animals and machines blur. The performer attempts to carve out an identity through repeated patterns of living and behaving. We observe a body merging with technology; a body ‘in process’; constantly collapsing, mutating, evolving and remaking itself.
As bee populations rapidly decline and ecosystems face disproportionate impacts, it seems there is a growing need to reflect on our relationship with non-human communities. Perhaps it is time to foster a more mystical and empathetic understanding of non-humans. Enacting elements of sacrifice, alchemy, production and community, HIVE (a distant hum) explores the role of the honeybee within its own colony, the wider ecosystem and human communities therein.
Photos by Dani Harvey 2018
The Harold Pinter Studio, London, 8th December 2017 // Hundred Years Gallery, London, March 2018
‘MILF MONEY’ is a short performance addressing the sexual politics of dairy production. Exploring the dual status of cow’s milk as both bodily fluid and food, the artist enacts contentious methods of dairy production, marketing and consumption. Through an intersectional feminist lens, ‘MILF MONEY’ considers how systems of patriarchal and capitalist oppression function in the animalisation of women and the feminisation and sexualisation of farmed animals.
The performer is part-animal, part-human / a monstrous mother who writhes in and consumes her own milk, encouraging the audience to join in, to milk her, to suck from her plastic nipples. She is a vessel, consumer and producer of fluids.
photos: Dani Harvey
Peopling the Palace(s) Festival Queen Mary University of London June 2017
swallowing, chewing, gargling mouths. toothless, toothy, slurping gums come drink from me baby baby is thirsty baby is becoming come watch baby drink (mmm)
QuietWean starts a conversation with environmental science, gender studies and animal rights. We observe a grieving mother as a baby is born; milk and spit explode into the space. This durational performance explores desire in relation to socio-political issues of modern food production; specifically, industrial farming.
Festival 41 at Hackney Studios, London
(mmm)ilk me is a visual exploration into the shape-shifting spaces of encounter between humans and animals in modern culture. (mmm)ilk me is a durational performance installation in which we join human-animal hybrid, MoMo, in her experimental laboratory. MoMo consists of two conflicting personalities: Mo1 and Mo2, each, it seems, with opposing needs and intentions. Over the course of the two hours, the former, “tender Mo”, will bathe, suck, spit, ingest, wash, wear, transfer and metamorphosise her milk in an effort to somewhat ‘restore’, ‘give life to’ and ultimately ‘return’ this fluid to its original form/ source. Mo2, “hungry Mo”, just wants to experiment.
In MoMo’s lab, distances between human and animal collapse; food and mouth melt into one; milk begins to burst through the membrane of ‘nature’, disturbing the boundaries between consumption, production, maternity, bestiality and the (un)natural; MoMo’s repetitive task-based activities oscillate upon the fraught axis of disgust and desire. But what do they want exactly? Perhaps it is desire itself which reunites Mo1 and Mo2. Or perhaps MoMo just wants to be fed.
Ritual milking ‘stations’, symbolic of the continuous impregnation/ lactation of female dairy cows in modern industrial farming, represent the ritual cycle of animal exploitation and ownership inherent to our anthropocentric domination of the world. The transformation/ relocation of milk in this space is thus representative of a much larger exchange, that which is involved in modern dairy farming, where animal milk is dislocated from ‘nature’ and maternity and placed instead inside the ravenous mouth of the adult human.
Through the universal and bodily nature of milk, this piece aims to deconstruct the stability of human perception by considering how our individual needs and desires are often projected onto the animal, “the other”, in the form of possession and dominion. Ultimately exploring desire and selfishness in relation to feeding and being fed, (mmm)ilk me elicits an attempt to reclaim agency over the human and non-human female body and its organic materials.