Exhibition Design

The exhibition Love in a Mist: The Politics of Fertility is installed inside four consecutive greenhouse structures, at turns exposed and covered by mesh textile. Each greenhouse hosts a set of artworks. Together, they extrapolate multiple narratives that can be read as “snapshots”, capturing brief episodes in the history of the politics and spaces of fertility from Reproductive Rights to Accelerated Growth, and Extinction to Compost.

The Reproductive Rights structure houses Women on Waves’ mobile treatment room, which provides access to safe abortions at sea, and a campaign with its online sister organization Women on Web that flies drones with abortion pills from women in one country to women in another. The inclusion of Diana Whitten’s film provides an engaging history of their work. Next, Lori Brown’s “Don’t Mess with Texas” considers the state’s vehement antiabortion stance in an essay and maps.

Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory (FAST) underscores the extent of this condition throughout the United States in archival material about violence against abortion clinics, reproductive rights legislation, and ancient abortifacient potions. Displayed as a series of broadsheet-sized tabloids, the collection is accompanied by an illustration of how the recent “heartbeat bill”— criminalizing abortions from as early as six weeks into pregnancy — has spread across the country.

The works within Accelerated Growth, a partly covered greenhouse, explore the genealogy of synthetic hormones and their impact on women, farmed animals, land, and bodies of water.

FAST’s inflatable installation “Bodies of Steroids” stands in parallel to Bernie Krause’s recordings of diminishing soundscapes in nature.

Extinction begins with “UNCERTAIN, TX” and “Complex Systems” by Desirée Dolron, the first conveying the deterioration of Caddo Lake State Park, Texas in looping images, and the second evoking the sensitivity of group relations. Bringing scientific backing to this claim, the UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services report from May 2019 is made available to show empirical studies on diminishing biodiversity and mass extinction of species worldwide. The document, which also proposes actions across governments, cities, communities, and households, is situated next to an indigenous call for action: “Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change” directed by Zacharias Kunuk and Ian Mauro.

The Compost greenhouse is inspired by Donna Haraway’s book “Staying with the Trouble”. The works weave together speculative imaginaries by artists examining women’s bodies, minds, and relations to the natural world from different perspectives — political, biological, spiritual. Yael Bartana’s trailer and neon work “What If Women Ruled the World?”, “brings some of the world’s best strategic minds together to help avert impending disaster while situated in a replica of Dr. Strangelove’s War Room”. Tabita Rezaire’s video “Sugar Walls Teardom” pays tribute to the imposed contribution of black womxn’s wombs to medical science. The artist’s treatment of their eternal healing power is shared in the closing work titled “Womb”, a sculpture by Atelier Van Lieshout that offers “a stylized representation of the interior of the human body, almost perfect anatomical renditions of the organs that keep us going”.

Love in a Mist: The Politics of Fertility is curated by Malkit Shoshan, Area Head of Art, Design, and the Public Domain (ADPD) MDes at Harvard GSD and founding director of the Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory (FAST), an Amsterdam- and New York-based think-tank that develops projects and campaigns at the intersection of architecture, urban planning, design, and human rights.