STATE PROPERTY, digital sculpture, 2022
State Property, a digital neon sculpture of an exploded uterus, refers to court-ordered, state-sanctioned intervention on bodies, where wombs become disembodied sites of legal and criminal action. Forced birth is violent. Cruel externalities, known and yet to come, are represented in the organ’s fracturing. State Property underscores the corruption of what should be an individual's autonomous right to decide the circumstances under which reproduction occurs. Neon, often a language of cheap advertising, reflects the false promises of maternal support after birth.
The fundamentalist salvo overturning Roe represents not just a constitutional crisis of personhood and an abject abuse of power, but one of precedent; public statements indicate that marriage equality and contraceptive rights are also now in the crosshairs. In this historic moment, artistic interventions will play a critical role in provoking meaningful public discourse and action. EPOCH offers an accessible and interactive opportunity to engage the public through powerful artwork, shared resources, and funding for reproductive justice.
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From EPOCH Gallery:
UNPROTECTED is modeled after the Supreme Court of the United States building and is organized in response to the US Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, leaving millions of Americans stripped of bodily autonomy. The overturning represents not just a constitutional crisis of personhood and an abject abuse of power, but one with a growing range of cruel externalities beyond forced birth; including preventable infections, lost access to crucial autoimmune medications, and death. The state-sanctioned criminalization and surveillance of those seeking and providing reproductive care has a radial impact on the health care providers, family and friends who are involved in supporting pregnant individuals. Increased morbidities, poverty and incarceration will be inevitable and widespread outcomes. It isn’t enough to go back to the precarious protections afforded by Roe, in which many, especially impoverished people of color, were already forced into dangerous decisions between their livelihood and safe healthcare. Many lawmakers have already vowed even more sweeping national criminalization of pregnancy and contraception (along with increased targeting of all bodies that are not cisgender, heterosexual and male) as soon as Republicans once again control both houses of Congress. Voting blue is not enough. Today, our voices must be heard in every possible forum, state and federal: Reproductive justice and equitable abortion access must be enshrined in the Constitution, immediately. In this historic moment, artistic interventions will play a critical role in provoking meaningful public discourse and action. EPOCH offers an accessible and interactive opportunity to engage the public through powerful artwork, shared resources, and funding for reproductive justice.
On August 13th, the entirety of the UNPROTECTED exhibition will be released as a singular NFT containing a compilation of artworks by participating artists. A portion of the proceeds will go to support reproductive justice organizations.
UNPROTECTED, graphite drawing, 2017
On September 28, 2018, during Dr. Ford’s testimony against now Justice Kavanaugh, I geolocated a drawing of mine in augmented reality (AR), titled Unprotected, in front of the United States Supreme Court. The drawing hailed from my Surds series, which explored trauma responses in the body and embodied knowledge. The Surds series was inspired by a powerful book of feminist philosophy by Susan J. Brison called Aftermath, which addressed the author’s metabolization of her own sexual assault. I appended the word “Unprotected” to my AR drawing for two reasons. The first was obvious; during Dr. Ford’s testimony, as during Anita Hill’s decades earlier, millions of Americans were reminded of the dearth of judicial protections for victims of sexual assault and of the cultural systems that continue to erase, mock and intimidate those who dare to speak up. The second was a reminder that the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has never been ratified; more than half of American citizens remain unequally protected under the law. At the time, it felt astonishing in 2018. As of June 24, 2022, it appears it may never be ratified.
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