Performing pregnant: An aesthetic investigation of pregnancy
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Putnam, El. (2018). Performing Pregnant: An Aesthetic Investigation of Pregnancy. In Clara Fischer & Luna Dolezal (Eds.), New Feminist Perspectives on Embodiment (pp. 203-220). London: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-72353-2_11
In this chapter, I explore how the aesthetics of pregnancy and childbirth offers a platform for exploring the pregnant body in the cultural consciousness by building on Iris Marion Young’s phenomenological understanding of pregnancy and Martin Heidegger’s treatment of the essence of technology as Gestell (enframing). Instead of treating pregnancy as a state to be endured, physical pregnancy can function as a source for intellectual growth and creative exploration. Performances by pregnant artists, including Marni Kotak, Cathy Van Eck, and Sandy Huckleberry, counter the containment of maternal subjectivity through the medicalisation of pregnancy as well as challenge a questionable legacy of representations of pregnancy in art. In their performances, where art is treated as a realm for corporeal exploration, pregnancy becomes the impetus for aesthetic experience.