Untitled [Senior Thesis] (2008)

Performance, text and web documentation

Untitled [Senior Thesis] is a project that explored questions of biological and epistemological reproduction. It consisted of performance, video, and sculptural installation components. The performance, which took place over the period of an academic year, entailed a precise bodily intervention: from the 9th to the 15th day of my menstrual cycle, I used semen samples (collected from “fabricators”) to privately self-inseminate; on the 28th day of my cycle, I would ingest an herbal abortifacient, after which I would experience cramps and heavy bleeding.  This bleeding could have been either a normal period or a very early-stage self-induced miscarriage—the work was intentionally crafted so that not even I knew which.  As a result of these formal constraints, acts of biological reproduction were collapsed onto acts of reading (my own reading no more authoritative than that of any spectator).  I intended this piece to exist in its telling—a telling that was to take textual, visual, spatial, temporal, and performative forms, opening on to questions of material and discursive reproduction.  Yet because the video and final installation for this work were censored and deemed a “creative fiction” by the Yale University administration, the piece only exists as a narrative circulation, which has largely taken place online.  

*see accompanying texts “Shvarts explains...” (2008) [Yale Daily News.pdf] and

“Figuration and Failure, Performance and Pedagogy: Reflections Three Years Later” (2011) [Figuration and Failure.pdf]