A three part performance, staged around large porcelain sinks, of communal actions performed alonside recited texts
Oil Pulling: coconut oil, plastic spoons
My phone rang, but I didn’t know it was my phone, because the ringtone somehow changed while it was in my pocket, so I didn’t recognize the sound. It was ringing, ringing, ringing, and I just kept thinking it was someone else’s phone, even though there was no one else around, but it was you calling.
My friend on facebook posted the other day that she had lost her phone and that she didn’t know when she was going to get her period because all her data was gone. Maybe it wouldn’t come at all. She was sort of joking, but also not joking. In the comments, none of her friends knew how to get her period data back. She was using the free trial version of the programme. Like most apps you have to pay for the upgrade and they will store your data in an online account. Then, if you lose your phone, you can get your periods back. Actually, her data’s still there, stored in a super computer. She just doesn’t have access to the information. It’s on a data farm in a sort of super-period hard drive. A communal smartphone period. The technology is ripe for new possibilities, automated tampon deliveries, smartphone reminders to change your pad, or one day, they could find a way to synchronize the menstrual cycles of the women who use it. You could like pay to opt into the scheduled period or something. Like an online version of how it happens to women who spend a lot of time together. Then everyone would always know when their period is coming.
Some of the fertility apps use these new smart thermometers that connect to your phone and track your ovulation cycle for you. It’s used first thing in the morning to take your basal body temperature the your phone tells you when you are ovulating so that you can avoid getting pregnant or get pregnant, if you want to. My grandma used the same technique with a normal thermometer. She had ten children. I don’t know if she was trying to have them or trying to avoid having them. She didn’t have the internet, but it’s a very straight forward method. If your temperature is one degree higher than usual, it means you ovulated the day before. You can do it with any thermometer.
Teledildonics are smart masturbation devices that facilitate long-distance intercourse. They can be used by real couples during times of separation, for cyber- sex between strangers, or as an aid to perform sex with characters in virtual reality porn. The devices are connected to the partner’s phone, computer, or to a penis or vagina-shaped controller that stands in for the absent partner’s genitals. The controllers can give and receive the actions performed by the other person, simulating the physical responses of intercourse mechanically. Their smartness allows the partners to be cybernetically connected as they jerk each other off in real time. In reality, jerking each other off by jerking themselves off. It’s a new form of device intercourse. It’s a new form of relationship where you can be alone but together, with a substitute for your loved ones genitals everywhere you go.
Charcoal brushing: Toothbrush and activated charcoal
Initially purchased as a kind of pacifier to help me sleep alone at the end of a long relationship, I found myself dependant on an electric blanket. It served as a transition object, replacing the body heat of my ex-lover in my bed. It gave me a physical form of emotional support, helping me through a time of crisis. It is what it is, but it’s more than what it is. It is a transition object. It is an imposter.
The blanket made me think about other types of objects that function as stand ins in inadequate environments. I became obsessed with artificial rocks, imposters, posing as rocks, when really they are motion activated garden lights, heaters, speakers, and art.
In a zoo, or in a terrarium, reptiles are given ceramic rocks that have electric coils running through them. It is electric rock. It is a hot rock. It is not a rock. It’s plugged into a wall outside of the animal’s enclosure. The humans marvel at the animal’s fixation and apparent love for the object. The humans congratulate themselves for being such excellent carers. So excellent at simulating the natural environment of the creature. The reality is that the animal is dependant on the rock because its only heat source in its inadequate environment. A consolation in the inadequate simulation of the animal’s natural ecosystem. The rock doesn’t heat the cold air inside the enclosure, so the animal clings to it, like a hot water bottle, in an eternal night. Its belly, pressed against the endlessly hot rock, lacks the receptors to tell the animal its skin is burning before it is too late. So, this comfort object becomes abusive, when, in its desperation to keep warm, the animal burns its skin.
For intoxicated humans, whose senses are similarly dull a hot water bottle can be a bedtime a comfort. Filling a hot water, going to sleep, and not feeling their blistering skin, they wake with a deep subcutaneous burn in the shape of a rectangle and the diagonal line pattern of the traditional rubber hot water bottle emblazoned on their skin.
Drinking Probiotics: kefir and straws
There are eight litres of freshly made kefir, a probiotic, fermented milk drink similar to yoghurt, made with a mother culture of crystals, a colony composed of yeasts and bacterias. The crystals, or grains as they are usually called, cannot be reproduced in laboratory environment, they are passed down from colony to colony. To make the kefir, the dormant crystals are introduced to fresh milk and left to ferment at room temperature for 24 hours. The crystals are then removed and the kefir is jarred and refrigerated, where it takes on a carbonated quality. Use the straws to drink from the jar.
During a vaginal birth, the baby, passing though birth canal face first, receives the vaginal gulp. The internal and external coating of the mother’s microbial flora prepares the baby for its transition from the sterile womb into the outside world. The vaginal gulp establishes the microbial colony in the stomach of the baby, which will stay with it all its life.
Colostrum is the first food a baby will consume. This first milk is harvested from cows who have just given birth. The first milk is an inoculation for the newborn calf against infections and provides necessary growth hormones to promote the development of a healthy stomach lining. Turned into a superfood powder, used predominantly by athletes as a health supplement.
In probiotics, the Mother refers to the colony that reproduces in each generation of cheese, sourdough, kombucha, or kefir. The complex biomes found in nature, or wild colonies, are self-regulating whereas commercially produced biomes are simple and not equipped to combat infection. Wild colonies require more knowledgeable producers, in tune with the behaviours of bacteria and yeasts.For some, there is a spiritual connection between people and nature to be found in the process of controled fermentation. The oractive of keeping a microbial pet teaches them about the For true believers, the visceral experience of consuming fermeted foods is a heavenly reminder of death followed by the promise of an afterlife. The kefir is off-gassing. It is farting the carbon dioxide through the lid of the jar. The sterile chamber mimics the stomach.
The trend for blended foods is like a cultural return to infancy, where adults long to live off of the breast milk of their mothers, whose bodies where attuned to their nutritional needs as infants. The mother concocted the perfect recipes for their mind and body health. This natural symbiosis, is replaced with the blender and the blend of ingredients, selected for a complex socio-economic reasons, related to peoples’ body image and marketing trends. Chia seeds, protein power, turmeric, probiotics... these beneficial substances promote self-esteem, body-image, and health, connecting the body and mind, self-help and nutrition, lifestyle and consumerism.
The aversion to consuming solids coincides with for minimalist bodies living off perfectly designed man-made milks.