Posted by: Ophelia | April 18, 2008

For senior, abortion a medium for art, political discourse

Beginning next Tuesday, Shvarts will be displaying her senior art project, a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself “as often as possible” while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. Her exhibition will feature video recordings of these forced miscarriages as well as preserved collections of the blood from the process.

She said she was not concerned about any medical effects the forced miscarriages may have had on her body. The abortifacient drugs she took were legal and herbal, she said, and she did not feel the need to consult a doctor about her repeated miscarriages.

The display of Schvarts’ project will feature a large cube suspended from the ceiling of a room in the gallery of Green Hall. Schvarts will wrap hundreds of feet of plastic sheeting around this cube; lined between layers of the sheeting will be the blood from Schvarts’ self-induced miscarriages mixed with Vaseline in order to prevent the blood from drying and to extend the blood throughout the plastic sheeting.

Schvarts will then project recorded videos onto the four sides of the cube. These videos, captured on a VHS camcorder, will show her experiencing miscarriages in her bathrooom tub, she said. Similar videos will be projected onto the walls of the room.

It’s all a “Creative fiction”folks.

“Ms. Klasky went on to suggest that Yale would not have permitted a project of the sort described in the student newspaper. “Had these acts been real, they would have violated basic ethical standards and raised serious mental and physical health concerns.”

Well that answers my questions and concerns. I couldn’t really imagine a school approving something like this that could potentially be so dangerous. I’m honestly relieved.

“The entire project is an art piece, a creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman’s body.”

I’m still not sure I get it.

Original post below cut.

I’ve got to say, I’m not a fan. I think the trivial nature of it is what’s irking me. In my lifetime, my mother has experienced twelve miscarriages, and I’m just thinking about how she’d feel to see something like this. It seems very pie in the sky, as if this isn’t something that actually happens to women. Additionally, she says she doesn’t intend for it to cause controversy, (note the use of “forced miscarriage” instead of abortion) but it’s really difficult for me to parse what I’m supposed to take away from the exhibition. I believe it says the role of the body and art should be the point of discussion but, I don’t know about this. The methodology employed belies a different purpose. I mean I’ve heard of the exhibition in which the artist spit into a jar for a year, and the woman who paints using her menstrual blood and those make me think of the relationship between the artist’s body and their art. I’m not so sure about elective at home medical procedures.

Also, can I mention I’m not a fan of the advocation of placing trust entirely in natural remedies and never seeking a professional medical opinion? It doesn’t appear that she was under a doctor’s or midwife’s care so I’m a little concerned with how glibly the process of abortion is being treated, I mean what if the best case scenario for each abortion didn’t play out?

I’m not arguing on the basis of morality or immorality, mostly I’m concerned about the message it sends regarding personal health and the message sent to women who are unable to conceive or have experienced an unwanted miscarriage. Maybe if the message is articulated better, I’ll get it, but right now without seeing it, I don’t know if I want to get it.

Also: Who are the guys just donating sperm on the premise that she’ll be aborting any pregnancy that comes about? Was there a contract? Otherwise, I mean, what if she changed her mind?

It’s all a “Creative fiction”



  1. Yeah, this really has me confused. I wish I could see the exhibit for myself.

  2. Lots of people blog about this subject but you wrote down really true words!!

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