Wet Nurse: Motherlode (2021)
Video installation and performance by 110%
Commissioned for MICRO-(BIAL) TENANCIES (Artist as Host), curated by Abbra Kotlarczyk
BLINDSIDE GALLERY, Melbourne/Naarm, AU
Single Channel Video [10:07], tea, terracotta and dough stained muslin, mother-care diary [updated daily in the gallery and online]
Excerpt from Textual Tract, Abbra Kotlarczyk
In gallery two, 110% (Beth Dillon, Kieran Bryant & Lachlan Herd) present Wet Nurse: Motherlode: a new installation and single channel video work in two parts exploring a dual approach to the ethics of interspecies caregiving. As a material and conceptual fermentation of their 2019-20 material incubation and live work Wet Nurse at c3 Contemporary Art Space, Wet Nurse: Motherlode situates original textile elements and thematic accretions to present a renewed view to microbial transference—one that is site-and-time-specific to the conditions of life amidst global pandemic. Framed in two consecutive parts, Unconditional Love and Selective Feeding, the video applies a low-fi, quasi-scientific lens to the use of branching processees for exponential yeast mother reproduction that is redolent of COVID-19 growth modelling. Where Wet Nurse was welcoming of “intimate contact zones between fermentative microorganisms, and the bodies of artists and audiences," this new work—filmed and developed under viral duress in Sydney, Australia and Biel/Bienne, Switzerland—finds stark resonances with current divisive geo-realities and fears of bacterial intermixing and viral panic. In that it presents an unsustainable aesthetic of care and reproduction to the point of excessive overload, this work not only articulates a conundrum of unconditional interspecies care, it also prods at the inherent volatilities of broader care work, wherein too much hospitality can smother and undo the efficacy of its intention. The power of this work additionally lies in the messaging around care for, and not just by, all mothers: it playfully suggests what we all know about society’s disdain for what it believes to be an unmanageable excess of motherly demand on a system that must divide and control, in order for it to survive.