Which connections can be drawn between caring for the Earth and caring for the body? The group exhibition Where Shall We Plant the Placenta? compares motherhood with ecology, and establishes connections between the two through mutual notions of nurturing and caring. The placenta is anatomically designed to nourish and protect the baby, containing hormones required for pregnancy and breastfeeding. Particularly in western countries, it is common practice for a number of hospitals and healthcare facilities to dispose of the placenta as medical waste, however, an alternate choice is to keep it for certain traditional practices, rituals, stem cell research and production, as well as for holistic and alternative medicine purposes. The placenta can be kept in the freezer until it’s turned into capsules to swallow or to be buried in a special place as a way of connecting the baby to a specific land and heritage. But what to do when you live in a city without a garden or displaced from your land and heritage? Then the question arises: Where shall we plant the placenta?
The group exhibition Where Shall We Plant the Placenta? is inspired by Molly Arthur’s “MotherBaby\MotherEarth” theorizations as well as Bracha Ettinger's psychoanalytical examinations of 'Carriance', a concept that symbolises the sublimation (from the 'real) of maternal carrying, as her theorizations are concerned with internal processes. Arthur develops the idea of a depleted Earth and draws a parallel between the communal grief felt in both nature and motherhood. Similarly, the mining and excavation of bones and blood from Mother Earth can be compared with changes and interventions that affect our bodies. This group exhibition subverts the concept of mother figures as caretakers, examines manifestations of partnership, and considers the environmental impact of humans through displaying dependencies and the role of genealogy in environmental transformations.
Edward Clydesdale Thomson’s research into site-specific shelter building gained a new layer of meaning when River, his daughter, was born, and he decided to focus his artistic efforts on protecting her from the effects of climate change. The work 𝘙𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘳’𝘴 𝘴𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘮 (2022) is constructed to protect his daughter from the increased risk of storm winds and the dangers they bring with them. Thomson built this work using a wide variety of materials including rubber wellies, outgrown clothes, steel rebar, wooden shingles, and his childhood kite (a gift from his father). The rubber is an electrical insulator that protects the crib from lightning strikes. The pine shingles shield the baby from the wind and the rain. The concrete filled wellies act as anchors, and when the kite is released into the air it rotates the shingle screen into the wind and provides a visible sign for people to easily locate the crib. Thomson's artworks often the includ plants and other material that will mature over years, as well as sundials and kites that provide a rapidly changing perception of time. Through these artistic choices, different time scales converge in the work, rasing questions about the current profit-oriented economy that prioritises speed rather than the coexistence of different temporal experiences. In doing so, the work defies the pressures of a spectacular, fleeting moments, and attempts to resist sweeping ecological changes.