WOMEN ECO ARTISTS DIALOG

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boobscape (2016>)

boobscape, lynn mowson, 2016.

boobscape (2016>) is an ongoing sculptural installation project that iteratively responds to my investigations into the entanglements between agricultural animals and biotechnologies.  The title boobscape uses the suffix ‘_scape’ to denote a wide or extensive view, and reflects my research into the diary industry - from artificial insemination, lactation and mastitis control, the regulation of ‘productivity’ and bovine life cycles, the multiple pregnancies, and the collection of fetal co-products from slaughterhouses.  Agricultural animals have long been entwined with our biotechnological innovations from the domestication and hybridized breeding of animals in early farming through to contemporary biotechnologies experiments such as transgenic animals. Diary cattle are subject to genetic experiments to alter milk production, reduce mastitis, increase nutrient uptake, and with the creation of transgenic cows to produce human milk for the baby food market.

boobscape, lynn mowson, 2018. photo by Kerry Leonard. 

Contemporary developments in biotechnology such as in-vitro meat and bio-fabricated leather have also been incorporated into the later iterations of boobscape.  In-vitro meat is produced, currently, by collecting muscle tissue from donor animals, which is then grown using a medium containing fetal bovine serum (FBS).  The collection of FBS was the focus of my earlier series slink (2011-14) (see ephemera), which responded to my investigations into the deaths of pregnant cattle and the methods by which blood was taken from living fetuses. FBS is used as a universal growth medium in cellular technologies, and is collected from the fetuses from pregnant cattle at specialized abattoirs.  It is estimated that approximately 2 million fetuses are ‘harvested’ worldwide annually, and ‘culled’ pregnant dairy cattle are one key source of these fetuses.

boobscape (detail), lynn mowson, 2018. photo by Kerry Leonard. 

I use latex as a material because it is ephemeral, fragile and transitory. Latex ages, thins and eventually decays like our own bodies.  I developed a method to fabricate the latex skins to resemble worn vellum, human cadavers and dried and treated animal skins devoid of hair.  For boobscape I created multiple casts that utilized the transgressive possibilities of mammalian mammaries; udders blur into breasts and teats merge into nipples, milk strands leak from the nipples/teats of engorged and ulcerated breasts.  boobscape alludes to possible monstrous milking machines, animals reduced to mammaries, biopsies and donor animals, cellular technologies, to the potent abject and transgressive possibilities of milk and motherhood.  Mammary glands and milk have connected humans with other species since Linnaeus introduced the term ‘Mammalia’ in Systema nature (1735) as a class in which the females of the species have mammary glands.  Through these forms I interconnect human and non-human histories of motherhood and milk and point to our shared mammalian homologies and interconnected histories.

boobscape (detail), lynn mowson, 2018. photo by Kerry Leonard. 

slink (2011-14) is an installation which comprises of multiple latex adult forms, babyforms and sacs, which can be installed in a number of different combinations.  This work resulted from investigating the death of pregnant cattle, and the collection of by-products and co-products from foetal bodies. 

 

The latex material methodology developed for slink was utilized and modified to represent the fragile skin of fetal animals in the casts for boobscape.

slink (detail), lynn mowson, 2014. photo by Kerry Leonard. 

lynn mowson is a sculptor whose practice is driven by the entangled relationships between human and non-human animals.  lynn’s research focuses on agricultural animals and the biotech industries.  

Her artwork/research is featured in many publications including; Animaladies, Bloomsbury Press, 2018, Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture, 43, 2018 and The Art of the Animal, Lantern Books, 2015. She is widely exhibited in Australia, and in 2017 was included in SPOM: Sexual Politics of Meat at The Animal Museum, LA, in 2017.  

Further information can be found at her blog www.lynnmowson.com.