School of Art, Media, and Technology

Part-time faculty Aliza Shavarts’s work “Untitled [Senior Thesis]” featured at Galerie im Saalbau in Berlin

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Part-time faculty Aliza Shavarts will participat in An Imagination of Bodily Autonomy at Galerie im Saalbau, curated by Nina Marlene Krauss  on view from April 22 – June 25, 2023.

This exhibition group includes the work Untitled [Senior Thesis]—made when Aliza Shavarts was a student 15 years ago—since Roe v. Wade was overturned by the US Supreme Court.

“For an academic year, I self-inseminated around the time I was ovulating. Two weeks later I took an herbal abortifacient, after which I would experience cramps and heavy bleeding. This bleeding could have been either a normal period or a very early-stage self-induced miscarriage—the piece was intentionally crafted so that not even I knew which.

The work highlights the histories of how people have self-managed their reproductive capacities, as well as the ways in which the biological experience of our bodies is overwritten with interpretation: our own, but also the far more consequential interpretations of those more powerful than us. Whether a viewer sees something liberatory, monstrous, or mundane in the very long—and often quite boring—footage of me sitting in a bathtub bleeding is determined by their own act of reading, which is no more or less authoritative than my own.

Making this work instilled in me a deep and enduring conviction in the body as both a creative and political tool: one that highlights how we are already vulnerable in the social, legal, and cultural spheres, but can also enact unrealized possibilities. In my case, an imagination of total bodily autonomy—that I can use the capacity of my own body however I want. Now more than ever, I understand this work as something that is at its core utopian: an imagination and brief enacting of a future not yet here.” – Aliza Shavarts

Opens FridayApril 21, 2023

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