Multimedia Installation

The Roger Smith Lab Gallery

LA INCUBADORA  |  New York, NY  2010

I am re-envisioning the Lab Gallery at Roger Smith Hotel as a warm human incubator, in contrast to the cold exterior of Manhattan, yet concurrently reflecting its sterility. This is a new way to present “You Cannot…” that works with my current sensibilities while still staying true to the original sculptures.


Media: Abaca cast paper and mixed media
Dimensions for each piece: 39 in x 19.5 in x 13.5 in
Music by: Meshell Ndegeocello
The installation dimensions varies by exhibit space.

ARTIST STATEMENT (English / Espanol)

I am re-envisioning the Lab Gallery at Roger Smith Hotel as a warm human incubator in contrast to the cold exterior of Manhattan, yet concurrently reflecting its sterility. This is a new way to present You Cannot… that works with my current sensibilities while still staying true to the original sculptures.

This work explores the interplay between biology and society. I pose two questions: To what degree are gender-specific roles biologically determined? What happens to those roles as both society and biology evolve?

The ideas arose in a very personal context; during my pregnancy, and afterwards when I was nursing our daughter, I noticed how curious my husband was about my experiences. More than once he pressed Shammiel against his own nipple to see if she would suckle. I wanted to create a piece around motherhood and the unbridgeable gulf between the male and female bodies, specifically in the area of reproduction. Then I began to imagine ways in which that gulf might be bridged.

Central to this work is the concept of male pregnancy. Given recent startling developments in our understanding of genetics and medicine, we may soon see a future in which women and men will both have the opportunity to carry a pregnancy. This shift would have not only enormous biological ramifications, but would also motivate a reexamination, if not total upheaval, of deep-rooted social conventions. In You Cannot Feel It…, I fantasize what such a world might be like.

Within the space, people encounter “clones” of a new kind of human body: handmade paper sculptures of a pregnant female torso with the same male head attached to each of them. These casts were taken from a mold made from my body the week before I gave birth to Shammiel. The floor beneath and around the body casts will be covered with soft, pale sand referencing the earth as a foundation for biological manipulation.

I had the opportunity to collaborate with composer Meshell Ndegeocello in creating a piece of music made specifically for the installation. The lighting in the space and the music will reinforce the magical quality that many of us feel when confronting the wonders (or monsters?) of modern science.