Untitled # 1, pregnancy, 2014, HD video, 2 minutes and 30 seconds, looped.
This work is a response to the plethora of daily comments directed towards me in my everyday happenings, by strangers discussing my large pregnant belly. Most, if not all of these comments were quite personal and based on no scientific evidence.
A comment which came up regularly was that the shape of my belly determined the gender of my baby. One day in the post office the lady serving me said, you’re obviously having a girl because your belly is so round. Then the following day in an op shop, a man informed me that I must be having a boy because of the roundness of my belly shape. I was also told that I could discover the gender of my baby by conducting a simply old wives tale, ritual, that involved holding my wedding ring above my belly on a piece of string.
Though I could appreciate their enthusiasm and understand it was intended as harmless chatter between strangers, I already knew the gender of my baby because I had an ultrasound and I had informed them but this did not seem to discourage their predictions. Additionally I did not care for the gender of my baby because I wanted my baby to be gender neutral.
These types of comments revealed to me the mania that is created through other people commenting on my pregnant body and cultivated on internet forums discussing pregnancy.
I decided to perform the ring ritual to represent the ridiculous nature of the comments, which I discovered online on baby forums. The process was that I needed to test the rings natural “responses” first by holding it over everyday objects to determine which direction it moved for a yes response, verses the direction it moved for a no response. After establishing this, I could ask the ring yes or no questions while holding it over my pregnant belly. It was recommended to ask questions such as the gender and date of arrival.
Believing or considering the results of the ring’s movements to establish the gender of the baby is as absurd as telling a pregnant women what gender their baby must be according to the shape of her belly (as oppose to having an ultrasound). What’s more, is that in this one take self-portraiture performance video, at times it is difficult to establish the exact answer the ring is signalling, representing the silly (or fun?) nature of the ritual as well as the need for some to authenticate such answers.