Wet Nurse (2019 - Present)

Live performance and installation series by 110%. First development commissioned by c3 Contemporary Art Space, Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne.

Wet Nurse is a mutating performance and installation work that imagines how artistic practice can function as a form of caregiving. The work explores choreographies of care through interspecies collaboration, focusing on intimate contact zones between fermentative microorganisms, and the bodies of artists and audiences.

The root of Wet Nurse is a collective yeast ‘mother’ cultivated from live yeast strains reared in our separate studios in Sydney, Melbourne, and Bienne (Switzerland). In each iteration of the project's development, our yeast ‘mother’ continues to transform in response to the microbial conditions of the surrounding environment, and daily support work of nourishment, moistening and temperature adjustment. From this mother we are experimenting with ephemeral installations of fermenting dough and broth, with support structures and props made from glass, ceramic, fabric and plastic. This installation of soft and sweating forms blends elements of the medical ward, the kitchen, and the cruising lounge. 


A series of live performances transform the installation space into a humid and heaving environment alive with the musk of yeast, the sensual mingling of dough, flesh and fluids, and a lush, grinding soundscape created by Australian sound artist, Enderie. Moving with the audience through a series of ‘nursing stations’, the performance imagines the labour of caregiving as an oozing interplay of symbiosis and contagion between our 110% trio and our microbial collaborators. In this ambivalent relation, we inhabit the roles of worker, sculptor, lover, nurse and mother. We are also exploring ways that the audience is implicated in the performance as the presence of their bodies and their microbial clouds mingles with the elaborate biome of yeast fungi and bacterial cultures in the space.

The first iteration of 'Wet Nurse' was developed during a two week performance residency hosted by c3 Contemporary Art Space, Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne, and a one week studio residency at Brunswick Mechanics Institute, Melbourne, November - December 2019.   


Wet Nurse by 110% has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.


Video documentation: Ella Sowinska