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An exhibition of new artwork looking at the extraordinary history of not being pregnant and trying to diagnose pregnancy in the past.
43 backers pledged £1,580 to help bring this project to life.

About

Conceiving Histories: unpregnancy in the past, an exhibition project video thumbnail
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£1,580

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In short

I am raising funds for artists' materials and to attend a workshop so that I can finish work for my first solo exhibition at the Peltz Gallery in London UK in November 2017. The exhibition (which will be free and open to all) is of new artwork exploring the history of early pregnancy diagnosis.

The Conceiving Histories Idea

As you are reading this, there is a huge unseen community of people wondering 'am I pregnant?'. Perhaps you or your partner are or have been among them. Reproduction looks to us like it's at the front of science and modernity. But in the two week wait, before it's possible to do a pregnancy test, people experience a strange historic space. They are in the same boat as people in the past who didn't have the home pregnancy test at all.

I am making an exhibition of new art work which explores the history before the home test, the history of how difficult it could often be to know if you were pregnant or not, to think about the difficulty about knowing about and waiting for pregnancy today.

The Work 

My work is a visceral, emotional but also playful reflection on modern reproductive failure and disappointment. I use historical stories, objects and documents to reflect on my own experience and that of others who are wondering about whether they'll ever be parents. Some of the histories that I am looking at aren't very well known; in exploring them I am opening a window onto an experience which is secret, silent and invisible both today and in the past.

In this exhibition I'm looking at the strange hysterical pregnancy of Queen Mary I in the sixteenth century; an odd fashion, from the end of the eighteenth century, for wearing a pad to simulate pregnancy; a dark unethical science fiction fantasy from 1826 about locking women up in an Experimental Conception Hospital and experimenting on them and, from the twentieth century, I am exploring the bizarre and largely unknown history of testing for pregnancy by injecting frogs with urine.

Here are some images from my current work:

De Formatu Foetu, linen and transfer
De Formatu Foetu, linen and transfer

 

The Pad, Baby on Board Jacket, photography, linen and mixed media
The Pad, Baby on Board Jacket, photography, linen and mixed media

 

Experimental Conception Hospital, photocopy transfer on paper
Experimental Conception Hospital, photocopy transfer on paper

 

Frog Work, transfer and collage
Frog Work, transfer and collage

Why Kickstarter?

I have applied for funds from a number of different trusts and charities. These schemes are very competitive and, although I got positive feedback, I wasn't successful. As a result, I have worked on the art work for this exhibition entirely unpaid and I have nearly finished. In order to make a really good job of finishing this work I really need some more materials. In particular, I need photographic materials and I would also like to go on a 3 day course to learn how to screen print on textiles to realise my ambition of making some large textile pieces. These things would really extend and finish the work that I already have, making my exhibition much more successful than it would otherwise be.

This exhibition is part of a wider project and, if I raise more than my target amount, that extra money will either be spent on making the exhbition still better or go towards materials to continue working on new case studies.

Risks and challenges

There are few risks with this project because the work is nearly complete and the exhibition space is booked and paid for. The exhibition is the main thing that I am working on at the moment and, unless I were to get ill or something else were to intervene, there aren't any obstacles to my making the pieces that I have planned.

I have exhibited my work before, although previously as part of a group, and I am now an experienced studio artist with at least 6 years of experience of making work to exhibit and delivering projects to a deadline. I have mentor support from people and organisations such as the Bow Arts Trust, where I have a studio, and the Peltz Gallery, where the exhibition is going to be held. They are advising me on selecting and installing this exhibition.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $1.26

    The follow me pledge

    I will follow you on twitter from the @Conceivinghists account.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £5 or more About $6

    The postcard pledge

    1 beautiful artist-designed postcard relating to 1 of the case studies featured in the exhibition. I will also follow you on twitter.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About $13

    The postcard collection pledge

    4 beautiful artist-designed postcards, relating to all the case studies featured in the exhibition. I will follow you on twitter.

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    12 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About $31

    The print pledge

    4 beautiful, artist-designed postcards and an A5 signed, limited print and a twitter follow.

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    9 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About $63

    The grand pledge

    All of the above, plus a copy of the exhibition catalogue, 1 poster and 1 flyer for the exhibition and a personal tour of the exhibition with me and my academic collaborator.

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    Pledge £75 or more About $94

    The grand plus pledge

    All of the above plus your name incorporated into the project's artwork and a unique artist's photograph of the relevant piece; your name with a thank you in the exhibition catalogue.

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Funding period

- (31 days)